Saturday, December 01, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree!

I put up our Christmas tree tonight.

Okay, I actually put up the tree last week, but tonight I decorated it.

Decorating our tree is an exercise in memories.

See, we try to pick up something that can be used as an ornament on all of our travels. It doesn't have to be intended to be an ornament, but it needs to be small and hangable.

There are a few that are not from our travels, like the "Our First Christmas" one from 1999 that always goes on first and in a position of prominence. And then there are the pet charity ones or the ones my in-laws have given us. And there is a tiny wreath that was on my mother's tree.

But being in the Foreign Service has given us the opportunity to go to many places I never dreamed of.

And so there is a slipper from Baku, glass orbs from Turkey. There is a painted egg from Hungary and a wooden bell from Moscow. There is an olive wood nativity ornament from Bethlehem, and a Lithuanian bell. A metal etching of the Heidelberg Castle and a copy of the stained glass window in the Strasbourg Cathedral.

There are a bunch from our domestic travels too...a Catawba pottery rabbit and a Cherokee gourd bowl. There are lots of Charleston ornaments (the city puts out one a year), plus some from the State Department (for the Christmases we spend in DC), Chimney Rock in NC, and various forts we have visited. And of course, there is a copy of the Mayflower to mark our visit to Provincetown, Massachusetts three years ago to get legally married.

Each ornament has a story...and I think of each story as I decorate the tree. Lots of memories.

But what decorating the tree reminds me of most is just how fortunate I am. How lucky I am to have lived the life I have lived and how lucky I am to still be living it with the person I love.

Decorating the tree reminds me that I am truly blessed.


Skye said...


I wanted to thank you for your posts about the Foreign Service. I am a junior in college majoring in International Relations. I'm very interested in the Foreign Service and appreciate learning more about your experiences. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading your posts in the future.


Connie said...

Such a lovely tree, and I agree with your method of collecting memories to hang up! Somehow, we still have straw ornaments bought at a Christmas market in Augsburg nearly 2 decades ago. A ceramic bell that says 'Christmas in your new home 1992' (from my mother-in-law, now deceased... can you imagine how many of those we'd have now had she lived to get us one on each move??), and ornaments that children have made over the years. This year they decorated the tree. I didn't see where many ornaments ended up, so I am enjoying our tree from a different perspective this year... as an explorer, looking for remembered surprises. Merry Christmas!