the Christmas tree

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In 2008, we celebrated our first Christmas as a wedded couple. Less than three weeks prior to that, we closed on our first home. Despite towers of cardboard boxes and a completely disheveled home, we still put up our first Christmas tree.

It was beautiful. It was adorned with delicate glass balls gleaming in purples, reds, blues, silvers and golds. Gifts of Christohper Radko and Wedgewood ornaments were our extra special contribution to the tree. And, perfectly wrapped presents created a wreath beneath it. We snuggled under a warm blanket together, sipped our hot chocolate and admired our first tree in peace.

Three years later, we had a freshly mobile one-year-old. Austin’s interest in the tree was short-lived, but long enough that the Christmas tree received its first remodel. Our precious CR and Wedgewood ornaments were elevated to the penthouse of the tree, safe from curious hands. Amazingly, only one gift huddled beneath the tree required a re-wrap that year.

In 2012, the remodel turned more into a renovation. Not a single glass ornament made it on the tree that year. Bless Costco and their extra large tubs of plastic ornaments. I truly believe they were tested by toddlers. Unbreakable. I tried whole-heartedly to have gifts underneath the tree that year, but, in the end, I re-wrapped every single gift at least once. Ironically, when Christmas morning came, we had to coax Austin to open all of his gifts. Rule #1 of kids: Nothing is nearly as much fun with your parents’ permission.

Another year. Another change. Our Christmas tree went up the day after Thanksgiving. No glass ornaments again. They are safely stored for a less destructive age. The tree went up perfectly, and it looked as though we would have a similar tree to last year’s… until today.

I walked into the living room to find Austin nestled next to the tree. He had removed one of the cushions from the chairs, and there in front of him, he had lined up a number of ornaments from the lower extremities of the tree. He smiled at me, and proudly showed off his collection. A few moments later, I spot Everett bounding after a giant, glittery ornament much like a puppy. In fact, when he finally captured it, he celebrated by attempting to eat it, despite it being the size of his own head.

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So, this year, I have two options. I can remove the bottom half of the ornaments, or I can let it be. This is the year my tree becomes our family tree, and I’m just going to let it be.

What a transformation we have seen over the years. As we change, so does our tree. The Christmas tree tells our story. It’s messy, imperfect and a little rough in spots. But, it’s always colorful. It’s always bright, and it is well loved. Ornaments will come and go, but the precious moments we share as a family beneath this little tree will carry on.

That first Christmas seems ages ago. No longer is there the same peace and quiet surrounding the Christmas tree. There is something better. There are snuggles, sweet giggles and wonderment from two precious boys that far outweigh the quiet. It’s a different kind of peace.

I love our tree. I love its story, and I love that it is ours.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours this Christmas season.

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