Monday, December 16, 2013

O Christmas Tree


Last year was our first Christmas as a married couple. It was only a few months into our marriage (and a couple months into pregnancy!) and we weren't even in our Ann Arbor apartment on Christmas what I'm really getting at is that we didn't really do much in the way of decorations. We had a nice fireplace in that apartment so I meticulously placed all of the Christmas cards we received out on display which gave the living room a happy, festive feel. But we certainly didn't procure a Christmas tree.

This year we are still living simply when it comes to the decorations - but we did manage to find a small, table top tree (Target: $12) to (at least) display our collection of ornaments.

Did I mention that I love our growing, little collection of Christmas ornaments? Probably not, but that's actually the main reason I'm writing this post.

When we started going on adventures and taking weekend trips we were in search of some kind of souvenir that we could find almost anywhere we traveled. For example, I remembered that Kelley and her husband collect napkin rings (did I remember that right, Kelley?) and two of my college friends buy a new piece of artwork wherever they travel. I loved both of those ideas but we needed something that suited us (and was conducive to our current lifestyle of potentially packing up and moving around in the next few years). So what did we decide to collect? You guessed it - Christmas ornaments!

Ornaments are quite common in gift shops...although they were surprisingly difficult to find on some of our trips. However, we have managed to find something to commemorate all but two of the trips we took this past year.

About half of these were ornaments I acquired back when we were dating or
engaged or were gifts to us last year - the other half are from
our adventures together :)

Words cannot express how grateful I am that we decided to do this! Decking our little Christmas tree is officially a tradition that will grant us a happy trip down memory lane just as I could see it has always been for my family growing up. Don't get me wrong - I love those pretty, matchy matchy ornaments that follow a particular color scheme...but I also love an assorted collection of ornaments that have their own unique stories behind them. And one year later, for our second married Christmas, we have begun a humble collection of such shared memories. :)

What kinds of Advent or Christmas traditions do you follow in your family? How and when do you decorate your tree (if you decorate one at all)? This year we happened to decorate our tree just in time for Gaudete Sunday (which happened to fall on my birthday this year!) - but I'm not certain when we will decorate in the future.

"O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!"
-from "O Tannenbaum"


  1. Yep--that's right! We collected napkin rings from all of our trips in Europe, but just in Europe. I wanted something specific for that special time so never before that and never again :-) The collection is 24 strong just from that time so I think that's enough!

    We have also always found an ornament on our trips and that was before Europe and since. One important thing to remember is that your ornament choice doesn't have to be an actual intended ornament. I'd say most of our "ornaments" from Europe trips are actually just small items that we felt represented what we did or what we enjoyed most. Often a 3-dimensional magnet will work. We have a sloth magnet from Costa Rica that we just added a loop of string to and picnic basket magnet with cheese and wine to represent our many picnics in Paris. I actually have a small ceramic mug meant to hold toothpicks for appetizers hanging from my tree because the color and design are typical of pottery found in Nice and southern France. It can be so much fun to find the right ornament!

    One other tip...while your collection is still small, take a close-up photo of each ornament, add them to a table in a word document and then type up a little description in the box next to it of where it's from, what it represents--anything special you want to remember about it. That way in years to come when you're decorating and your mind is a little more fried than when you were younger and the collection is much larger, you'll remember everything you want your family members to know about why it's special. And there will be a record of why these ornaments mean something.

    1. Thought so! Some if our "ornaments" are not actually ornaments either. ;) And what you said about the document is something I already planned on doing lol. We clearly think so like one another!!! :)

  2. I'm catching up on your posts! I love decorating the tree. I always got ornaments as gifts every year and it's so fun to go through them annually! I buy each of my girls an ornament each Christmas that represents something that they really liked that year. When they get old enough to move out and get their own tree, they'll be able to take all of their ornaments and memories with them! (Good thing that's a looong way off, though!)