Follow Along

home about me contact featured house tour

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Christmas Tree 2012 - The Story of Our Lives

Pin It

You may have noticed that I've been quiet since last Friday.  I've been spending time with my family and thinking of those impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. I've struggled, as many others have, with whether to write...and about what to write. As I said on Serendipity Refined's Facebook Fan page on Saturday, I hope that in coming here, you will find a pleasant diversion or a much needed break when you need one.  I hope that you enjoy what I share as much as I enjoy sharing these snippets of my life.

Today, I'm sharing a few things from our Christmas tree.  We put up several trees in our home at Christmas time but the one that means the most is the 12 footer that stands in our family room because it's this tree which contains our most prized ornaments.

Oh, it's not what you may think. They're not expensive. They are, however, irreplaceable.  Each one of them, (numbering over four hundred at last count), has a story.  There's a macaroni necklace, made for my as a Christmas gift by my youngest when he was in preschool. There are salt dough ornaments, painted with water colors, made in  kindergarten by my oldest.

I'm blessed to have come from a close-knit family steeped in strong traditions. The gifting of Christmas ornaments is probably one of my favorites; especially in December.  On our tree hang ornaments gifted to me by my Grandparents on my first Christmas, a wooden thread spool strung with glass beads which I gave to my mother after having purchased it, in First grade, at our school Holiday Bazaar.

This tradition is carried on by my family to this day. My parents gift ornaments to us and to our children, my siblings and I do it for each other and our respective Nieces and Nephews. We gift ornaments to our sons, to the children of friends, and I gift them to my closest girlfriends.It's a reminder of their importance in our lives.

On our tree, Vintage ornaments mix with new;  store-bought baubles hang next to home made beauties but they all share one thing in common: they tell the story of the lives of our family.   As I hung these ornaments on the tree with my youngest this year, I smiled many times as he told me the stories of ornaments that came into my life before he did.

Stories that are shared, memories that are re-lived and new memories that are made each year as we decorate the tree.  I don't have a  favorite ornament, I have several...from construction paper hand prints, to paper plate angels, to gift tags and inscriptions written in the hand of friends and relatives who are no longer with us. Our tree reminds us of the people and events that have shaped the lives of our family.

I'm blessed to be able to add to the ever expanding collection this year and to have sons who are now nearly grown to do it for...and with.   As I sat, this afternoon, looking at our tree and this ornament, made by my son when he was five or six, my thoughts turned to the families and loved ones of heaven's newest angels.

My heart breaks for everyone who has lost a loved one...especially at the holidays....especially a child.

I won't say any more on this topic publicly, or on this blog, after today.  Please understand that it doesn't mean that I don't think of people who are struggling with tragic loss and remember them, every single day. It's simply too private and too sad for me to continue to do each day.

I choose, instead, to try to share happiness and beauty. I choose to create a memory or to help teach you how to make one of your own.  I choose to do what I can to  make our world worthy of the memories of all of those that we've loved and all of those that we continue to love each day.

Thanks, everyone, for allowing me me share and for taking your time to read.


Sharing this post at:
Jennifer Rizzo


  1. I LOVE THIS. I am glad to see people showing their family trees this year and not focusing strictly on theme trees or trendy trees. I love theme trees and trendy trees too, but its just not Christmas to me without our family room tree which is our family's memories of Christmas and includes ornaments which reflect our lives.

    This year, more than ever, I think we will be cherishing our families and our memories so deeply. I just can't say too much about the topic because I am ripped to the core with grief for my fellow man and his/her suffering. Thank you for your acknowledgement.

  2. Thanks, Amber. I couldn't possibly agree more. Merry Christmas to you and yours! xo

  3. Life is for living and sadly the world doesn't stop when we grieve. It's not callus or uncaring to be all you can for the people who you share your life with. And that means continuing even when you're sad.


  4. Your tree is a mirror of beautiful memories shining back at you. What a delight. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I have struggled myself. I want to talk about it too.. but feel ill equipped to convey my feelings well, especially on my blog. Some have been so eloquent though.. and I know then, that the feel much the same way as I do.

    1. Hi Shannon. Well put. Everyone grieves and heals in their own way and in their own time. I respect that.

  5. What a wonderful tree full of memories and happiness!
    I'm with you on posting about what happened in Conneticut. I just can't keep dwelling on it - it hurts too much. And I've quit reading the posts that are all about it - not that I don't care or don't ache for all the people affected - I just can't handle it! So I am with you - I will be posting as normal too!

  6. Wow that is so awesome and super cool to keep the tradition and memories in the family to share with your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

  7. What a wonderful post. So happy that you are part of such a close family - the most important thing in the world. I'm a new follower and will be back soon to visit.
    Wishing you and yous a lovely Christmas!

  8. Love your tree. We have a memory tree also. From family and from past students. Every year I look forward to having a memory of the person that has either made or given an ornament. We started a tradition of giving an ornament for each of our children from the year they were born. They came from a vacation place, or something we did that year or something our children were interested in at the time. Once they moved out they had a fairly full tree of their own filled with memories. We are now starting on our granchildren. I also cut up their baby crib mobile (Hey Diddle Diddle) and shared a couple of wooden pieces with each and hoping my children will do the same for their children.

    All your ornaments are beautiful and I'm sure give a special meaning. One that caught my eye was the vintage red Santa. We have a similar one along with a snowman of the same era. They were originally my husbands' grandparents, his parents passed them down when my husband got married and we passed them down to our children when they moved out.
    When I go to visit my children there are always a few special ones that I look for immediately.

    Love your blog and all your beautiful pictures.

  9. love all the happy ornaments and warm memories they inspire.


Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts! I read every single comment and try to respond to each and every one of them!