The ornaments on the right side of this photo have moved with me for almost 20 years, hanging on my tree every year, handed down from my great grandparents.
When my brother, sister and I were little, we had a tradition. We had a real Christmas tree every year, picked from our property, cared for during the year by my dad in preparation of the holiday.
It’s a tradition I’ve continued every year since I’ve had my own tree.
When I was in college and space was at a premium, it was a tree so small it could sit on top of an end table. But it was a real tree, although it was picked up from a trip to a tree lot in the local grocery store parking lot, instead of the acreage where my friends and I once built a fort.
Most recently, my tradition is to pick a tree out the day after Thanksgiving with my two oldest nephews at a local store.
A Christmas tree should be taller than me, I told my oldest nephew, when his first pick was a little on the short side.
When we finally landed on one tall enough, I was ready to ask store staff for help. My oldest nephew was too impatient for that, so he just picked the tree up and headed for the front. He’s a tall 10, but it still surprised me.
It’s funny to think that his first Christmas, spent here in Poplar Bluff, he was small enough to sit inside a large Christmas gift bag. We took pictures. In a few more years, he’ll be horribly embarrassed by them.
As our Christmas traditions continue to grow and change, I still stubbornly hang on to those I consider precious, and hope that I can pass that along. Like having a real Christmas tree, that litters my floor with pine needles and occasionally has a bare spot or crooked trunk.
But once I hang the faded pair of Christmas ornaments from my great-grandparents’ tree, the clay ornaments by brother and I made in school, and the many unique ornaments I’ve picked up over the years from trips and special holidays, it is completely and absolutely perfect.