I am not a sentimental person. I don’t keep my kid’s report cards or their math test, and I could probably fit all of their art projects into one drawer. The tooth fairy has never seen the need to save their baby teeth and the Kindergarten soccer trophies have long since found their way to the basement. But what I do have is 36 Christmas ornaments, all handpicked and all scripted with my children’s names
It was a tradition started some 40 odd years ago by my Aunt Marie when my oldest brother was born. Each year, we got to open one present on Christmas Eve, and it was always hers. Inside the tiny box was an ornament. She’d spend hours on the phone with my mother asking questions about what fascinated us that year, what new dreams we were chasing, then she’d find just the right ornament to encompass a year’s worth of our lives.
I have a porcelain ballerina from 1979, a pixie dated 1981, a tiny merry-go-round that plays IT’S A SMALL WORLD dated 1983, and the most atrocious looking car ornament dated 1990. Every year I hang them, each one bringing back a memory not so long forgotten.
My Aunt Marie started the same tradition with my kids the day they were born, and I have done the same for the nieces and nephews on my husband side. These ornaments will travel with them as they leave to start their own families, and I hope, as it has done for me, that these tiny, hand-crafted remembrances will be the most cherished of all the holiday decorations they will ever own.
Trisha Leaver resides on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather excitable black lab. She spent most of her childhood living inside her own mind, creating characters and stories that only a child’s imagination could dream up. She now spends her days breathing life into those characters, writing realistic fiction for young adults. Make sure to look for her upcoming novels, SECRETS SISTERS KEEP, coming winter of 2015 from FSG/ Macmillan and CREED (co-authored YA Psychological Horror) Fall 2014 from Flux.