November 21, 2012

Tree Trimming Memories

As new Barbie holiday ornaments debut and continue a cherished tradition, blogger Matt Stevens reflects on his family’s own decorating delights…

It’s the biggest, bulkiest box in my parents’ house. The Christmas Box, packed with tangled strings of colored lights and countless holiday ornaments. Come mid-December, when my entire family gathers to celebrate, two of us are assigned the backbreaking task of hauling The Box from their attic. Why is it so unwieldy? Because my family has been making and collecting ornaments since Mom and Dad married in 1953.

Every Christmas we buy a live-cut tree, and every Christmas Dad grouches that next year we’re finally getting an artificial one! But that’s just part of our tradition, as is rummaging through The Box and jockeying to find and hang our favorite festive ornaments. Some are prettier and better preserved than others, and certain ornaments are considered good (or bad) luck for the finder.

Amazingly, many of our arts-and-crafts creations have survived the decades, despite being cobbled from paper, felt, or yarn. Or a hollowed-out egg. (My middle-school masterpiece!) Or even glass (my brother went through a glassblowing phase). Several ornaments nod to our varied interests (music, movies, tennis, etc.) and occupations (doctor, actor, writer, etc.); still others evoke memories of cherished friends and relatives who gifted them to us.

Of course, Barbie doll gets a special spot on our tree as well! This year she’ll grace a couple more places with the dazzling new Celebration Barbie Ornament, inspired by the Holiday Barbie 2012 doll, and The Shoe Chandelier Barbie Ornament, adorned with some of her most glamorous heels.

After all our unpacking, decorating, and reminiscing — accompanied by classic Christmas recordings — the end result is a beautifully eclectic and very full “family tree.” Sure, the branches will dry out too soon and shed pine needles everywhere (cue Dad’s grouching again). But our unique ornament collection will remain a legacy of sorts, a lasting reflection of who we are, our different personalities and paths, and — most precious — our shared family history.

Have a favorite holiday ornament or memory? Please share it below!

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