Now that the New Year is upon us, and in a few days, all the decorations will be packed away until next December, I take more time to renew my connections with what makes Christmas special to me. The tree is full of memories with hand-made decorations hanging generously from all the branches.
Each year, mid-December, as Christmas drew near, my father would take the family out to choose a Christmas tree. We spent hours in the Mid-West snowy cold driving from one tree lot to another in search of the perfect tree. After much consideration, dispute, and anguished selection, we finally made a choice and tied the tree to the roof of the car, and drove our prize home. There it would sit propped up out in the cold, allowing the branches that had been compressed into a flat shape, to adjust into their natural shape. We would occasionally shake the tree and branches to help it untangle and shed dried needles.
One year, as I was going through the preparations, I discovered a perfect little nestdeep in it's branches, which I accordingly took it for a sign of good fortune. After all, how many times are we lucky enough to get a tree that had a nest too? And so, in its propitiousness, I have honored that same little nest in a conspicuous place at the front of the tree ever since. Now, many (many) years later, as my glance falls upon it, I am reminded of its origins and the circumstances that surround it. In remembering my father on this New Years Day, I celebrate his loving and creative spirit by sharing with you the miniature birdhouses that he made for me one year. I also honor all those family and friends who helped to create a variety of decorations to include felt snowmen, fabric covered balls, paper snowflakes, clothespin soldiers, and tiny paper doily angels. One year we got my sons involved and made bread dough ornaments of an angel, teddy bear and a even a fisherman holding a huge worm. (Boys will be boys!) When each of them got married, I shared some of these ornaments with them so that they also have memories on the branches.
My very best wishes to you all for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!