“Presence” around the Tree


It’s not what’s under a Christmas tree that matters,

It’s who is around it”

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The night after we bought our tree we decorated it. Toby got home from work early enough for us to block out the evening hours for decorating. Toby and Rusty carried in the tree, set it up in the stand, and put up the lights.

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When they were all done then it was time for the fun to begin. The boxes of ornaments were carried up and Toby “manned” the boxes while the kids hung the ornaments. He would pull out an ornament, figure out who it belonged to, and then hand it off to that child to hang up.

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We have a tradition in our family that was started Gracie’s first year. Every year on December 23rd (before we go to my parents house on the 24th to spend the holiday) we exchange ornaments. Toby and I buy an ornament for each other and we buy an ornament for each of the kids. Their ornaments usually reflect something that happened the previous year or an interest they have pursued that year.

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The kids LOVE this tradition. The thought behind us starting this tradition was that when the kids then got married or left home they will leave with 20 or so ornaments…

a nice start on their own family tree.

Ornaments that will also hold sweet, sentimental meaning for them.

For Grace this means that 17 ornaments are hers to hang on the tree,

but for Ozzie, who was just adopted a year ago, there is only one. Since he and Tyler have less personal ornaments to hang up they were in charge of the family ornaments.

While Toby was emptying the Christmas boxes Ozzie was eagerly searching for his one special ornament. As much as this tradition means to my big kids I think it means even more to little boys who have no mementos from Christmas past.

Out of curiosity I asked everyone which ornament was their favorite. Most picked the ones that were one of their earliest ornaments, those holding sweet memories from years past.

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Tyler picked the first ornament he received as a member of our family as his favorite.

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And Ozzie picked his one and only ornament…

made on Shutterfly with pictures of him at Disney World last year.

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Toby picked one of of Gracie’s ornaments as his favorite ornament on the tree.

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And I picked the ornament Toby bought me the year we adopted Tyler…an ornament that brought forth tears when I unwrapped it…as my favorite.

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While we decorated we watched a holiday favorite, Mr. Krueger’s Christmas, starring Jimmy Stewart.

When we were done the tree lights were turned on,

the overhead lights were turned off,

and we stepped back to admire our work and enjoy the holiday peace and awe that fill a room lit only by the lights of a tree.

It truly is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

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