A few curios for the Christmas tree

The boxes are cool and dusty, having been stored rather unceremoniously in the basement for the past eleven months. I bring them upstairs and sneeze. They are filled with tissue paper, fake cedar greens, old candy canes, and memories.

As a child, tree trimming night was a big deal. My mom sorted and spread out all of the ornaments on the coffee table. My dad’s job was to slip the tiny silver hooks onto the ornaments. We were in charge of the decoration, though for a number of years our petite stature limited the trimming of the upper half of the tree (so my mom helped out).

Today, I pause, and breathe in deeply, taking in the dusty, yet somehow green smell of the ornaments.

You know, the smell of Christmas.

When I moved in with my now-husband eleven years ago, we celebrated our first Christmas together in a small apartment in Pacific Grove, California. We bought a beautiful live tree from a farmers market, but we didn’t have very much with which to make it even more beautiful. A string of white lights and a handful of ornaments and it was done.

Ever since, we make it a point to find one or two curios every year to add to our collection.

I’d like to highlight a few. There is the sock monkey, which for a couple of years served as the Christmas star.

A bronze angel with the bell from my childhood.

The diet Coke Santa. A miniature black Labrador in a teacup. The wooden sea horse.

A Lilliputian kayak and teensy bells that bear our names.

Several sparkling disco balls. And a diminutive Yukon Cornelius.

Several Christmases ago, one of my clients came into the office a few days before the holiday, and gave me a homemade gift: a clear fragile sphere, in which hangs a tiny and delicate red ribbon. He was HIV positive. It has enjoyed a special place on our tree ever since.

I’m not sure how we acquired all of the ornaments that adorn our annual Douglas Fir. But I’m eager to search for this year’s tree on Saturday, and take it home, shake it gently and watch the loose needles scatter across the floor. For a few weeks, a tree will live in our house. I won’t get all HGTV on you, but it sure does make the living room look dazzling.

Which, if any, ornaments mean something special to you? What memories does the season bring?

Today I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop! http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/blog/