We typically get a tree that is 10 or 12 feet tall, then we put it in a tree stand that is attached to a plywood base. The base elevates the tree by another foot, giving room for gifts under the tree, and making the tree just that much taller. With the two-store ceiling in the room, it takes a lot of tree to fit the scale! The first year we lived in this house the tree was about 14 feet tall, plus the base. This year it's only a 10 footer, hand-cut from a local tree farm.
We have hundreds of ornaments on this tree, and there is a special memory associated with each one. Some ornaments are for our children to commemorate the most important aspect of the previous year of their lives. Other ornaments are souvenirs from our travels. Others were gifts to us. Others adorned our tree when we were first married in 1986. In addition to all these special ornaments, we also usually put about 5 dozen or so plain glass balls in red, gold, green, and sometimes other colors. We use about 15002000 lights on any given year, depending on the size of the tree. Sometimes we wind ribbon around the tree, other years we use simple ribbon bows. We wrap the bottom of the tree with yardage of green fabric purchased just for this purpose. While the tree doesn't look "designer" by any means, it is my favorite tree in the house by far.
Here is a peek at just a few of the ornaments on our family tree.
We like to collect ornaments as we travel to different places, like these:
From our vacation to Disneyland in July 2010:
From one of our many trips to Walt Disney World over the years:
From one of our many trips to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA:
From our trip NYC in Nov 2008:
From my trip to Jerusalem long ago, we have a whole set of these teak wood silhouettes of the Holy City:
From a trip to Germany:
From a trip to Denmark:
These ornaments have been on our tree since our earliest days of our marriage, before we had kids:
This angel used to be our tree topper on our very first Christmas tree:
Nestling bells have a beautiful tinkling sound when someone brushes up against them:
These were some of balls on our very first tree - the others have not survived:
We have five of these painted wooden hearts:
Lovebirds nestled in their nest:
Gifts from my parents:
I made and collected these ornaments to signify the first year of our son attending the University of Maryland:
This one is hand painted, and is meant to resemble the Maryland state flag:
This one was hand painted, in the school colors of red, gold, black and white:
Another U-MD ornament:
With all those U-MD ornaments, we can't ignore our own alma mater, the University of Oklahoma:
Some of my kids' ornaments:
I gave this one to our daughter the year that I became her Girl Scout leader, and we went camping for the first time:
From our son's first Christmas:
Here are some that signify my quartet, Lustre, and our favorite Christmas song, "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas":
To commemorate my participation in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure in Oct 2010:
To signify donations we've made to world hunger relief efforts:
A saxophone I've had since high school:
Our tree is the centerpiece of our holiday celebrations. It stands proudly in the center of our home, and it symbolizes all of the special family memories and traditions that we hold dear. I could stare at it for hours. It, above all other things, says "Merry Christmas" to me.
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Linking to My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.