hello, friends! today my sweet friend laura is sharing with us! i've been
stalking following laura's blog for over a year. we first "met" through the thankful on paper series last year. a few months ago, we met in real life at blog sugar. we had the greatest time! laura is so thoughtful and inspiring. i really look up to her, being a mom of kids older than mine. i'm takin' notes:)
There are so many Christmas memories that I want to share; how does a mother choose just one? Hannah made me really think about the memories that mean the most to me, and I thank her for that. It’s important to get our memories on paper to share with our kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc. We never forget as long as the tradition is carried on -- Here I share with you one of my favorite family traditions and encourage you to make your own with your family and/or friends!
We were newly married with a 1 ½ year old son and another one that was due any day. Our house was small – all 800 sq. ft. of it, but we loved it as our first home together. There were very few items to our name; everything could fit in the bed of a pick-up truck. My husband was an Airman in the Air Force, making just enough for us to buy food and the bare necessities for our growing family.
The decorations on our tree were handed down to us from my mother; mostly the Hallmark mice ornaments that she had collected over the years. Those were the ornaments I remembered most as a child. Unpacking them I could envision me and my brother standing around the tree with anxious hands waiting eagerly to place our favorite ornaments on the tree. The Hallmark mice were always bunched together in one spot with me not being able to reach the full height of the tree.
As a young couple we took a trip to Hallmark with our son to pick out ornaments and continue the tradition for our own family. The plan was to get an ornament for each of us; four total. But after seeing the prices we were quickly aware that we’d be leaving the store with only two, one for each of our children. Our son picked out a truck with a tree in the bed, and a group of military men for his brother yet to be born. Purchasing these ornaments was a big splurge, but thanks to the kind people that donated items to our family from the angel tree program we didn’t have to buy as many groceries that month. I was good at re-arranging money in our budget to make a dollar stretch.
When we got home our son was anxious to get his ornament on the tree. He placed it so carefully right in the front and as high as his little arm could reach. He then placed his brother’s ornament right next to his own; they were bunched together just like the mice he helped hang.
Over the years we have continued this tradition, and thankfully my children still get excited to make the trip to Hallmark to pick out their own ornament. We are no longer a family on the angel tree and we can afford to buy an ornament for each member of our family. But my husband and I never forget those first couple of years when buying the ornaments was something we had to save for. We also never forget the kind people that chose our family to bring gifts and food. It’s a part of our family traditions; a trip to Hallmark and helping a needy family.
And every Thanksgiving weekend we unpack our large tote full of ornaments and I watch my children sort their ornaments and carefully choose where to hang each one; with anxious hands. My oldest son puts most of his around the top of three. At almost 6’ tall he is proud to reach. My middle son spreads his around the middle, always putting his very favorites in front. And my daughter still bunches hers together, which drives my sons crazy! I don’t know if she realizes that they re-arrange her ornaments when she’s done.
Every ornament speaks about my children for each year. They remind me of the year my son was obsessed with Star Wars, or the year my daughter adored Belle from Beauty and the Beast, or the exact year my son loved sports more than anything else (he chooses the ESPN ornament every time). They also remind me of when my husband and I started watching The Office for our “date” night. And a good friend from North Carolina that gave me a Hallmark ornament as a gift when we moved away. The ornaments bring to life our memories.
Someday, when my children have a place of their own, they’ll get to decorate their own tree with the Hallmark ornaments they collected over the years. They will be reminded of the things they enjoyed over the years, and the memories of decorating the Christmas tree together as a family—no matter how busy our lives.
thanks, laura! this was wonderful!
i just love hearing about other families loving hallmark ornaments like we do:)
y'all be sure to check out laura's blog, creativity abounds!