Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Memories

I hope all of you are safe and warm tonight, snuggled up and waiting for Santa to arrive.

Eagerly anticipating what's inside each carefully wrapped package underneath the tree!  For me, Christmas is all about the traditions and the memories we create which will last a lifetime.  So each year we do certain things, the way we always have.  It's these little rituals that make it feel like Christmas.

On Christmas Eve my children have a special package to open.  They know what's inside, it's been the same thing for years.  It's a pair of PJs for them to wear while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads.  They are grown now, but they still love this tradition.

Also each year I buy my children an ornament to commemorate something important or special that has happened to them throughout the year.  For our son Bugs it was receiving his EMT certification last summer, so I found a special EMT ornament.

And our daughter, Angelfish, moved this year to her new apartment, so she received a key ornament.

I love the little card that came with this ornament, especially since we don't have a chimney for Santa to come down at this house, and neither does she at her new place!

When my mother passed away 6 years ago, I decided to purchase an ornament that reminded me of her.  And then when my father also died, I continued that tradition, and began purchasing an ornament in memory of him as well.  Some years I get a separate ornament for each of them, but this year I bought an ornament with the Kings Arms Tavern crest on it.  They loved Williamsburg and visited it each year, often dining at the Kings Arms Tavern so I thought it was a perfect reminder of both of them.

Sadly, I also lost my dear friend Dan this year, so I added an ornament to the tree in honor of him.  He loved Superman, and I know he is smiling down when he sees it hanging on my tree.  I also sent one to his wife and mother in hopes that they too will find comfort in adding an ornament in his memory to their trees each year.  For me it is a way of keeping those I have lost close to me during the holidays.

Of course I have beautiful new ornaments on my tree, but it's the ones that bring back fond memories from when my children were young that make me smile the most each year when I unwrap them and place them on the tree.  Like this Santa made from a crab shell by one of my chldren in elementary school!

Or this one made by my son when he was in kindergarten.  It seems like just yesterday that he brought this home all wrapped up as only a 5 year old can, and beaming with pride at his magnificent creation!  Ahh I miss those days sometimes!

There are ornaments that once graced the branches of my grandparent's tree.

And a beautiful tree skirt cross stitched by my mother in law not long after we were married always adorns the bottom of the tree. 

Of course with each year there are always new memories to be made.  This will be Misty Belle's first Christmas and she will find out that Santa doesn't just remember to bring toys and goodies to the adults...special pets will find something under the tree on Christmas morning too!

Unlike any other time of year, Christmastime is when we are flooded with emotions...both happy and sad.

And every one of the things I chose to put out each year, and then lovingly pack away until next year, have special meaning for me.

It may be the memory of who gave them to me.

Or the special place I visited where I picked up a certain something.

Each piece of decor has a story to tell.

A memory to awaken.

Of childhood...

Or Friendship...

Or family.

Some things spell it right out.

Others are more subtle.

But each thing, no matter how big or how small has meaning.

If not to everyone, at least to me.

They are the tiny threads that connect us to our past.

That remind us of who we are and where we come from.

And these things will create memories for our own children.

I hope that each of you will find those quiet moments during the hustle and bustle of ribbon flying, paper tearing, and the sounds of laughter and excitement on Christmas day, to stop and take it all in.  To drink up the joy that surrounds you and tuck it away into your heart and mind for safe keeping.

So that this time next year, or 60 years from now, you'll be able to think back, and although you may not remember what shirt you got, or how many pairs of socks, you'll remember the feeling.  The feeling of love, contentment, and happiness that Christmas is supposed to bring.

I wish each of you Happy Memories and a Very Merry Christmas!!!


  1. Merry Christmas, kat - lovely post. My grandmother had deer just like your little red one, and I distinctly remember the stuffing had a strong spicey scent. Wonderful memories....

  2. How lovely idea!!! Have nice Christmas!!! Ag from Greece and Poland toogether

  3. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.....everything looks so nice and of course my favorite picture would be the lovely tree and the pups!!

  4. Kat, I loved this special Christmas post. Seeing all the special memories and traditions that you have is so heart warming. Christmas at your place is truly a blessed time for your entire family. Christmas hugs to you dear one! xo ~Lili

  5. Merry Christmas, Kat! I love all the sentimental ornaments you have collected. I adore the tree skirt your MIL made. I know the countless hours involved in stitching something that large~a beautiful keepsake. Wishing you a wonderful day!

  6. Beautiful!! Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring many wonderful memories for you and yours! Lyla

  7. Hi Kat-I hope you had a wonderful Christmas at your house. I love all your sentimental ornaments. For me, Christmas is all about traditions and wonderful memories of the past and wonderful memories to build for the future. I have a feeling you see it that way too.
    Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

  8. Merry Christmas! And more memories:).

  9. We try to follow traditions also Kat. It sure makes for great memories as the kids (or grandkids) get older. Nice post and some very nice pictures (don't know how you didn't get your reflection in some of the glassware). May you and Mr. Tide and Bugs, Angelfish and the dogs all have a great Christmas season.

  10. Lovely words and thoughts....smiles.

  11. Kat,
    Beautiful post! I agree wholeheartedly!

  12. Kat, I am with you. Christmas is full of so many highs and lows. I really love the season, but somehow feel so emotional the entire time all the while creating new memories and trying hard to remember the little things.

    I know that Misty Belle must be beside herself with the goodies that Santa left.


  13. Merry Christmas Kat. Christmas has changed a great deal for me but my faith sustains me throughout each loss and now I have Joe. ♥O

  14. Kat, what a lovely, lovely post! I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and that you will have a very Happy New Year my friend!!


  15. What a wonderful tour of your tree. We have the same things on our tree. Every ornament has a special meaning to it. I have ones that Caden made, ones that we have picked up from places we have visited, but I don't still buy a new one each year that reminds me of Caden. I should have done that.

    All your decor is lovely. Hope you had a great Christmas and that you are staying warm.

  16. Kat, I also love a tree filled with memories! Your tree and ornaments are wonderful. I hope you had a fabulous Christmas.

  17. Oh my gosh! Look how big Misty is!! Isn't it crazy how fast pups grow?

    Love the key ornament. Bet it would look pretty to do a bunch of them on a tree.


  18. What beautiful Christmas images!
    Your tree is all the more special because of all the deeply personal items you bring into the the EMT ornament, how thoughtful!

    Happy New Year, my friend!

  19. Christmas Blessings and a happy new year!
    What beautiful treasures you have with such special memories..
    Love it!

    Deborah xo

  20. Love love love seeing other people's ornaments & reading about their traditions. My mom gave me an ornament every year too. When I moved out on my own, I had a lovely little tree of memories.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a safe new year.

    p.s. I LOVE the key ornament & the poem...SO cute!


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