For my wife and I, our first Christmas was in 1991. When we discussed what kind of traditions we would establish for ourselves, in addition to some that we carried with us from our own childhood, the topic of Christmas ornaments came up.
We decided that we would buy one ornament a year and only hang that year’s and the previous year’s ornaments on the tree.
That first year we had one ornament on our tree. It looked a little weird – a 10 foot Douglas Fir with white lights, green and red garland, and one ornament.
But we stuck to the tradition, adding one ornament a year – each one dated, as well. By 1996, we added “Baby’s First Christmas” and by 2000 we were up to 9 ornaments and started a mini-tradition of getting one with all five of our names on it (we did that for a couple of years).
This year we’ll put the 20th ornament on our tree. It’s beginning to look a little more “normal”.
But each ornament on our tree tells a story.
– 1991: Our first Christmas as man and wife.
– 1995: Our first Christmas when we were both starting our careers in Michigan.
– 1996: Our first son’s first Christmas.
– 1997: Our first Christmas in Wisconsin.
– 1999: Our second son’s first Christmas.
– 2000: Our third son’s first Christmas.
– 2006: Our first Christmas in California.
– 2010: Our first Christmas together in Illinois.
Some of the ornaments are goofy – like the one with Ralphie from “A Christmas Story.” Some are far out – like our R2D2 ornament. Many of them are “Peanuts” themed (our favorite theme).
But all of them are special and hold a precious place in our hearts.