A Box of Memories

As a child, one of the things I most looked forward to each Christmas was sorting through my ornament box. Each November, my dad would climb up in the attic and hand down boxes of Christmas decorations while my sister and I eagerly awaited our own boxes. After all the boxes were down, we would each pull the lids off of our ornament boxes and take a trip down memory lane.

Each of our boxes was filled with handmade ornaments from elementary school and ornaments gifted to us throughout the years. My mom meticulously labeled each ornament that was given to us with a year and the gift-giver’s name. Sometimes, when the ornament was from my parents, my mom would jot a little note in the individual ornament box. My sister and I always loved digging through these ornaments and reminiscing.

When I got married, my mom gave the box to me to keep.

Each year, my husband and I hang the ornaments from that box on the tree. This year, his personal favorite seems to be a homemade ornament with an awkward frizzy-haired picture of me as a 3rd grader grinning (and probably muttering to myself about how much I hated not being able to wear my hair in a ponytail for picture day).

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We also add the ornaments that we have collected together since we’ve been married. Some represent trips we have taken or milestones we have reached. Among them is a beach-themed ornament from our honeymoon, a house ornament representing the year we bought our first home, and a fun gold ornament from our trip to New Orleans this year. Both Mark and Isabelle also have a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament on the tree.

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As I think about that grinning frizzy-haired 3rd grader digging through her box of ornaments, I can’t help but wonder if I had any idea what ornaments would be added over the years. I could never have anticipated the heartbreak that would come from hanging Isabelle’s “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament up the first time, knowing that we would never be able to see the excitement on her face when she hung her ornament up herself. However, happy or sad, each ornament represents a year or moment in my life.

Christmas is a great time of year to reflect on these moments and to be thankful for our blessings. It is that collection of years and moments that have made me into the person that I am today. Our Christmas tree is a beautiful reminder of that.

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Matt and I intend to continue my family’s ornament box tradition with Mark. We plan to buy him an ornament each year that represents something important to him and always write a little note with it. This year, we bought Mark the Hudson steam locomotive by Hallmark to commemorate him receiving his first real train set from Matt’s parents. I hope that someday Mark will enjoy digging through his ornament memories and that it will be a reminder of how incredibly loved he is by his parents.

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I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas filled with family and lots of delicious food. Please remember to take time and give thanks for all the people in your life and to pray for those serving our country who were not able to be with their families this Christmas season. God bless, and Merry Christmas!!

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