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More Than Just a Decoration

You know those Christmas Trees that you see in the Mall or in magazines and craft stores, y’all know the ones that I’m talking about, they’re perfection… swathed in gorgeous ribbons and lights, all the ornaments are color coordinated and the trees just take your breath away.

I love those trees.

That’s not our tree, though.

Our tree is a mishmash of ornaments of all colors, styles, shapes and sizes.

Our tree is our family history, our time capsule.

Each year when we pull out our boxes of ornaments and pull off the first lid — the smell of craft glue, papier mache, old newsprint wafts up at me and I get a little misty eyed thinking of all the hands that have held these ornaments and hung them on Christmas Trees over the years.



Every year, my maternal Grandparents and my parents would give each of us kids an ornament.  When Nathan and I got married, he started receiving ornaments, too.

The oldest ornament on our tree was given to me by my Granny in 1978 – I was 4 months old.

I can’t explain what it does to my heart when I hold this ornament and show my kids the date on the back…


Every ornament on our tree tells a story, reveals our history and marks a moment in time


Every single ornament on our tree is so much more than a decoration – it’s a memory, a little piece of Christmas magic


Our tree may not be one that you’d find in any magazine, but it’s more beautiful in my eyes and precious to my heart, because it is our family.  It’s our time capsule, our scrap book, our hearts and memories, hung for all to see.

Every year I get to take my kids through my life, our lives, our past and we share our hopes for the present and the future.

So much more than a decoration.



Thank you, Hallmark, for choosing me as one of their “Life Is A Special Occasion” bloggers for 2012 and allowing me to share my life with y’all over the past year. While I am compensated for my work with Hallmark as a Life is A Special Occasion ambassador, everything posted is original and real and from our life. 

This past year has been a gift.  Thank you, Hallmark.


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  1. My Mom gave me an ornament every year until just a few years ago. I love them all so much. I love that my kids pull out the one that I made in preschool and hang it proudly on the tree every year. LOVE!!!

  2. I have 3 trees in my house. One we recently obtained from my mother’s house. Her passing last year came through the holidays and left us gasping for air. The other tree is my childrens tree filled with the ornaments they have made themselves and ones we have bought for them. The other is the family tree, with all kinds of ornaments and trinkets. Each one unique and just as beautiful as the other ones.

    1. I grew up in a house with multiple trees. There were themes to go along with the room and they were gorgeous, my mother was and is, an amazing decorator.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom’s passing.

      Isn’t it wonderful how something as simple seeming as ornaments and trees can bring us such joy and peace 🙂

  3. My parents have given each of my kids an ornament every year, as have we, so they will have a box of memories all their own when they’re ready to fly our nest. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and hunt me down some Kleenex. (((hugs))) Merry Christmas, sweetness.

  4. Rachel, I LOVE your tree. I too grew up getting those sacred tree ornaments from my Mom and Grandma. My grandma has passed away ( 4 years ago) and my mom still gives my siblings and me a tree ornament every year. I too have started the tradition for my little bird. Getting her an ornament that somewhat symbolizes something of importance from that year (last year I bought a pirate because of her love of pirates, being a pirate for halloween and her ever love for Jake and the Neverland Pirates). Thank you for always honestly sharing your beautiful family and glimpes of yourself — as I have said before, you are the sweet tea of this pacific nw gal’s day. xoxoxo

    1. Cassandra,

      My life would be less bright without you. Thank you for being so sweet, so encouraging and such a wonderful person! Merry Christmas! I’m so happy you’re doing the ornament tradition, too!

  5. Rachel, your tree is lovely and I feel exactly as you do about what our tree symbolizes and means. They are a reflection of who we are and what our family is, and the memories your tree holds will always be beautiful and special. No styled tree, however gorgeous, could ever be more perfect! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tree with us.

  6. These kind of trees are MY favorite! Full of life and history! LOVE your tree. I haven’t put up my bigger tree in years, but after reading this, I realize next year it will happen!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love your tree! My children give each other and us Christmas ornaments each year and now each of them has a wonderful tree full of ornaments that mean so much because they came from their siblings and we have a tree laden with snapshots into each child at the age they were when they gave the ornament.

    Love your blog!!!

  8. A unique, nostalgic and meaningful Christmas tradition. Have you got any tips on how to maintain Christmas ornaments?

  9. Rachel, this is beautifully written. I love this tradition so much and am so grateful to your grandmother for starting it. I’m equally grateful that it means so much to Nathan.

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