Lighting the Tree

How fun is it to combine two traditions into one? For the past 17 years my travel souvenirs have made an annual appearance on our Christmas tree.


When it’s officially time to decorate for Christmas (not until after Thanksgiving, thank you very much), I can’t wait to put up the Christmas tree! We have an artificial tree. Yes, that means we have to store it in our garage, but I’d rather do that than cut down a live tree every year. Our tree is an old friend by now. But what makes it even more magical, are the ornaments.

About 17 years ago, I started a tradition. I was in Washington D.C. for my brother’s wedding and I wanted to bring back a souvenir. But, this was in the early stages of my I-don’t-want-any-more-stuff-in-my-life and I didn’t want to just get something that was going to go on a shelf and collect dust that I would then have to clean off. You know?

The wedding was a week before Christmas, so naturally all the gift shops had plenty of ornaments on display. I realized that getting an ornament would be a wonderful way to remember my trip. And I found a darling little painted wood White House ornament.

I liked the idea so much, that on subsequent vacations (17 years worth of vacations now!) I would find a Christmas tree ornament as my souvenir. I now have ornaments from Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis, Maui, Vancouver, London, and so many more. It’s so fun every year to open that box of ornaments and think about each trip as I put the ornaments on the tree. It’s a holiday walk down memory lane for all of us as we begin our season of celebration.

And it simplifies the “what to bring back from a trip” question. And ornaments are so small and packable! And no, I never buy a breakable one! They are usually wood or metal.

I’m siting next to the tree now, with all of our ornaments lit up and glowing softly in the Christmas lights. And my soul feels lighter.

Does your Christmas tree bring you light?

2 thoughts on “Lighting the Tree

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