As a child, Christmas morning always began with my brother and I waking up before the sun came out to see what Santa brought us. Although Santa was great at always getting me the toys I wanted, there was always a gift under the tree I knew was from my mother and I couldn’t wait to open it.
Every year since the day I was born, my mother gave me and my brother a special ornament to hang on the tree. And it was always meaningful. She put so much thought into it and I always got one every year. One of my favorites was in 2005 when my parents and I took a trip to Europe for the first time. For Christmas that year, my mother gave me a gorgeous Eiffel Tower ornament. In 2004, we took a family trip to Las Vegas where I fell in love with the Coca Cola store and of course, that year she gave me a sparkling Coca Cola ornament.
In 2003, I lost my very best friend, my first pet who was a guinea pig named Little Dude, and for Christmas, mom gave me a lovely hand painted ornament in his memory. In 2008, she gave me an adorable camera ornament because of my love for photography. When I got engaged in 2012, she gave me and my husband an endearing ornament, and a stunning white glittery ornament in 2013 for our first married Christmas. She also gave me a few sweet ornaments for my first Christmas, and many more throughout the years.
I never understood why she did this. I always just thought it was a fun family tradition. I got married last year three days before Christmas, on December 22, 2013. That Christmas, she came over with a huge storage box. I opened it and there rested all my ornaments for every year I’ve been alive, and then some.
It was her plan all along, she said, to continue the tradition until her children got married. And when it was time for them to start their own lives, their own family. She had boxed up the ornaments from her home and given them to us so we could decorate our own tree with them and continue the tradition when we had children.
It was a moment I’ll never forget. We hugged each other and cried joyful tears as I realized the love, the sincerity, and the thoughtfulness that was my mother. And together, husband included, we placed the ornaments on our tree in our home and reminisced. That 2013 Christmas felt different than all the rest and I can’t wait to introduce this special tradition to my own children.