What I don't love is the star which always tries to lean. But, it's part of the tradition. The star wants to lean, and I spend the Christmas season battling with it.
Also, note the cat under the tree. Again, this is Christmas tradition. From the second Sophie spies the tree going up, she positions herself to wait for the tree skirt so that she can make her comfy bed for the month. (Please ignore the chairs stacked on the kitchen table in the background. I was getting ready to mop the floor.)
Our tree isn't fancy or glamorous. But, it is very much us, and most of the ornaments hold special memories.
Here is the angel that I had on the top of my miniature Christmas tree in my dorm room in college. Add a bit of string, and she now hangs from the tree. I remember how much I loved my little tree in my dorm room, and then I remember how I discovered that if you used Windex to clean your dorm room floor it made it very slick, so I polished the whole floor with Windex and turned it into an indoor-ice skating rink for a few friends and I!
These two are part of a set of glass ornaments filled with old-fashioned animals. I bought them in 2002. It had been a tough year, and I was really struggling with the fact that after trying for 2 years, we had not succeeded in being pregnant and had been told that we likely wouldn't. I hadn't had the heart to put up a tree that year, but the day after Christmas I was out shopping with my Mom when I found these and fell in love with them. I could just imagine a little kid adoring the animals, and so I bought them in the hope of being able to use them someday. Little did I know that I was already pregnant. Morning sickness set in on New Years' Eve, and it was the best Christmas present ever.
The next year we had a sweet little 3-month old who wasn't mobile yet, so we could just lay him under the tree to enjoy the lights. We didn't have many ornaments and couldn't afford to buy a lot more, but he sure did love laying under that tree.
The next year we had a VERY active toddler and another one soon to make his arrival, so I very carefully made some soft, non-breakable ornaments and bought some wooden ones that would hold up to being handled by a toddler.
Last year, the entire family spent an evening making "cinnamon applesauce glue" ornaments as part of our advent activities. They still make the whole house smell great.
And this year, we have also added a very special ornament.
In all of the commercial pressure to make Christmas bigger, better, and more glamorous, may I encourage you to slow down, keep it simple, and use this Advent season to make loving memories and remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas? Sweet memories of home and family and time spent together will be remembered long after the memories of "cool" presents and fashionable excesses have faded.