Ghosts Of Christmas Pasts -1998

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This was the year the first ornament arrived.

My older daughter was a freshman in college, an art major to be exact. She had just begun the journey which would lead her to the place she is now — a real-honest-to-God artist who makes a living with her craft.

My birthday is the week before Christmas and my birthday gift that year was hand crafted ornaments from said artist-in-training daughter. That first year they were light as a feather balsa wood shaped stars painted red, green, and white. They were decorated with gold and silver paint with delicate gold thread to dangle them from the branches of my tree.

Each year a new set of ornaments would appear. The next year it was a set of boxes of the same wood, painted to match the stars. They contained beads and rattled slightly. The year she was a poor starving grad student she made cut out silhouette paper dolls from one of her childhood photos — from animal cracker boxes and tied ribbon around their necks. Animal crackers were my ‘go-to’ snack I fed my kids as we grocery shopped to keep them from ransacking the store until I could get them back out to the car. The irony gene is strong in my family.

I have glitter covered acorns, origami swans, red and gold leaves pressed in glass, red brass rectangles, and bright feathered balls — I even have a baby tequila bottle festively decked out for the season.

One year she decided to expand into decorations for my home. The metal Christmas tree I’ve featured as the photo for this series is a gift she made a couple years ago . Because not only can my kid make delicate things of beauty and color, she can rock a blowtorch too.

Over the nearly twenty years that she has been making me Christmas ornaments, I have come to look forward to the moment I open the box and peer inside to discover the mixture of her imagination and Christmas magic. It is one of my most favorite parts of the holiday season.

And my tree, every year, looks just the same. It’s decorated with love. Every single ornament tells a tale — the journey of my life. Its not a designer tree or ‘themed’ tree. I have the same Christmas tree every year, except for the new ‘addition’.

Some nineteen years, my daughter, out of financial necessity, started making me these small little ornaments. I’m not sure how she was inspired but this gift has become one of my most treasured possessions. Mini masterpieces of Christmas magic.

The true meaning of Christmas is when we give of ourselves. Our talents. Our personal gifts. It’s not shopping on Amazon or killing ourselves to do more, entertain more. Its pouring out love. It doesn’t have to be the grand gesture for the gift to last a lifetime. Just one glittery acorn will do.

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