This story belongs to Zoe, and I was so moved by it, I asked if I could share it here with all of you too. I was moved because this story in pictures, is a reminder of some of beautiful things about Christmas: family, giving and making memories. It started when Zoe was 8, and she received a handmade decoration from her grandmother. Each Christmas, for the next 10 years, her grandmother made another decoration. Now Zoe is a mother herself, and these same decorations, feature on her own tree.
“My Christmas tree is full of handmade ornaments. My Grandmother used to make us one each year. I love hanging them on my tree. It reminds me of how fun Christmas was, and can be with a little imagination.”
A Story of Christmas Decorations — 10 Years of Memories
1990 — White Mouse
This was the first ornament Grandma made: a little mouse. I remember getting this one and thinking, “Oh wow! It’s so cute!”
1991 — Crocheted Bells
Little crocheted bells.
1992 — Bell & Chocolates
A bell that had 5 chocolates tied to it to help the count down of the longest 5 days of the whole year (5 days before Christmas!)
1993 — Handpainted Santa
Handpainted Santa’s, all different. My siblings and I all knew which one was ours without even looking at the back.
1994 — Handpainted Christmas Tree
Another handpainted item: a cute little chrisy tree.
1995 — Teddy Bear
Mine is the purple bear; Holly, I named her.
1996 — Golden Walnut
A golden walnut. It still has the nut inside and is surprisingly heavy.
1997 — Peg Reindeer
It’s a toss up between this one and the teddy bear for my favourite. I love this Reindeer.
1998 — Sequined Balls
Sequined balls. Mine is the purple.
1999 — Golden Bells
Little golden bells. I think Grandma was starting to run out of ideas.
2000 — Terracotta Pot Puddings
This was the last year we got an ornament from Grandma. I was 18, so I guess she thought 10 years was long enough. I miss getting them though. I love these ‘puddings’. The detail in them is fantastic. Grandma even put little dongers in them so they act as bells. The white paint on top is really thick, like the icing you get on some puddings.
“I usually just hang them on the tree so going through them brought back so many memories, and has made me even more determined to do the same for my son.”
When I read through Zoe’s descriptions, and looked at the pictures of handmade decorations, I felt emotional. What a precious heritage! The love and care that went into making the decorations is so obvious. I love how Zoe can recall, so clearly, the decorations that belong to her, and what year they were given.
I see these sorts of memories as little anchors. In my own life, these types of memories from my childhood play a part in keeping me steady, even as the sea of adult life crashes around me. I can draw on the memories when things are tough, or like now, when I’m especially missing my mother (she loved Christmas).
This is such an important reminder for me right now. I have to admit to feeling discouraged sometimes as I parent. I adore my children, and yet some days, weeks, (even years), I look back and wonder if I achieved anything. I so often feel like I repeat the same thing over again, going round and round in circles.
I absolutely know my role as mother is important but some days, I can’t see it. I know it, but I can’t see it.
Parenting is all about investment. It can’t be checked off in a to-do list. It doesn’t quite (ever) go to plan. It’s never finished. A mature mum recently reminded me, “What you’re doing now, believe me, it is all important. You can’t fathom the importance of the seeds you are sowing in your children.”
I think this is part of the reason why Zoe’s story affected me so much. Her story reminded me of three things:
1. It doens’t cost a lot to create a magical childhood
– It’s not about monetary value, it’s about love.
2. Investing in memories is important
— I have the power as a parent, to gift little anchors to my children, which will benefit them in short, and more importantly, the long term.
3. Parenting is all about investment
— It’s like growing a plant from seed. It takes time, and patience, and care.
I’m stopping, right now, to see what memories my Christmas Tree holds.
L to R:
Gift from my sister. Reminder of watching White Christmas together.
Made by my daughter at school.
From my Dad who has been in Africa for the past 5 years.
A decoration I purchased with my sisters the Christmas after our mum died.
Made with my my friend Bernie.
One of the first ever decorations I purchased with my mum.
When you take down the Christmas Tree, photograph some of the special decorations and make a small note book about what they mean. Add to it every year.