Progress, One Ornament at a Time

It’s January, which means I’ll start blogging again for a month or two before I don’t anymore. For now I’ll skip the lengthy post-analysis of how Operation Projects went awry last year, chalking it up to Reasonable Reasons. I did accomplish a couple of major goals that I never wrote about, but I’ll save those for another time.

Instead, I wanted to ascribe cosmic meaning to our Christmas tree.

Our Christmas Tree: The Origin Story

Once upon a time, it was 2007, and Jonathan and I got to decorate our first Christmas tree together. I love Christmas trees very much, and I’ve come to view tree-trimming as an art form. Alas, without much media to work with in 2007, the branches of our oversized fake tree far outnumbered the ornaments:
christmas 2007

Also, I think the bottom third had been ravaged by cats?

Growth Strategy

Instead of going to Hobby Lobby and filling our cart with pantookas and bamboozlers in one go, we devised a multi-year strategy for filling that tree. Each year, I pick out one set of four “fancy” balls and possibly one “ambiance” ornament (e.g. a garland or a box of pine cones to spread throughout the tree). Then, Jonathan and I pick out one single ornament together, commemorating another year together while testing our ability to agree on anything.

Here’s our catalog of ornaments as of 2014:

Year Ornament
2007

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Partridges in a pear tree? Not really, but a tentative couple’s pair of ornaments that were still separable enough should the partridges decide on separate trees.

2008

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A pair of bells. From here on out, I think all the ornaments aren’t very separable.

2009

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Two cardinals, commemorating our first Christmas together in Oklahoma where there were several cardinals in the backyard. Nevermind that this ornament shows two male cardinals.

2010

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Two gingerbread people riding a rolling pin with a measuring cup hanging upside down from the bottom? Jonathan believes in his heart that this somehow captures our first year of marriage. I believe it captures the ornament selection the day before Christmas at Target.

2011

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Two reindeer lovers, purchased from an ornament cart at Lakeline Mall. This was, unbeknownst to others, our “we just decided to have a baby” ornament.

2012

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2-month-old Talia’s handprint. This was our “we just had a baby” ornament. I actually didn’t finish making this until Christmas 2013 (when we gave a few away as gifts), but it’s definitely Talia’s handprint from December 2012.

2013

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A swan. At Thanksgiving, we saw swans at City Park in New Orleans. Ergo, we got a swan ornament.

2014

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Backpack ornament, commemorating our Major Life Accomplishment of hiking to Kalalau Valley.

Results

So, here’s the same tree after 8 years of accumulating ornaments just a few at a time:

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Look at the tree, not the baby! Okay, you can look at the baby too.

Cosmic Meaning, As Promised

When I think about the five million things I might have wanted to accomplish last year but didn’t, our Christmas tree encourages me a bit. Just by taking small but meaningful steps each year, it’s now lots more full of life and memories.

2014 was a hard year, but there were still meaningful steps, and I’m looking forward to taking a few more this year.

 

 

 

About Sarah

10 years ago, I was a computer science student. 5 years ago, I taught kindergarten. 2 years ago, I trained teachers. Now, I'm a technical writer. I have thoughts about most of these things, but most likely I'll just write about neuroses and why I love Mr. Gatti's pizza. Which might be a neurosis.
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One Response to Progress, One Ornament at a Time

  1. Chay says:

    What a wonderful story! And I did manage to look at the tree in that last picture! (after a while…)

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