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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas Ornament Memories

Nobody is ever going to give me an award for the best decorated Christmas tree. The red garland that I've been using for years needs to be trashed in favor of a new, fuller strand. I never can quite get all of the branches on my artificial tree to point upwards properly. Some stick out further than others and as soon as I think I've fixed the problem, I realize that I've just created new ones.

But in spite of all of its (and my) imperfections, I still love putting up my tree every year. Since 1994 I've been collecting one new ornament per year. They bring back such great memories as I pull them out of the box the follow year and every subsequent year. Here's a rundown of my collection, along with the memory that each ornament invokes:

1994: A teddy bear holding a candy cane inside of a stocking. I received this at a Christmas party I attended at church in which we did an ornament exchange. We had a blast as we exchanged wrapped ornaments. We even made a game out of it—where you could switch several times with other people if you wanted to. Then the moment of truth came. We unwrapped the one we had chosen. I really dug the ornament I chose and I enjoyed the process so much that I decided to start collecting a new ornament every year.

1995: A green metal bell shaped like a bulb. A woman I used to work with made Christmas tree ornaments and she brought enough to give the entire department every year. The year she made ornaments made out of bells made for a quite noisy day in the office, but I appreciated her gesture so much that I told her to make sure she remembered to do it again the following year. She did.

1996: A green plastic bulb, filled with a ribbon, with tiny pine cones on top. Notice that the woman from my office used plastic this particular year rather than a metal bell? From what I remember, she quit early in 1997, but I told her that she still needed to continue the tradition and drop by with ornaments the following year. She didn't.

1997: A little red stocking with white fringe. I have no earthly idea where I got this, but I like it.

1998: A bulb depicting the wise men heading to Bethlehem. I dragged one of my friends along one night to do some last minute Christmas shopping. I stopped long enough to pick out the official ornament for the year and when I saw the bulb with the wise men heading to Bethlehem along with the year "1998" on it, I knew it was the one. My friend said something that I still find hilarious: "But why would you want an ornament with the year on it? It won't be any good next year." This friend shall remain anonymous, but how could I have possibly come up with a better memory for that particular ornament?

1999: A candy cane wrapped around a golden cross. This ornament brings back memories of the Bible study I attended with several guys for a number of years. I think I bought this when all of us headed out to do a little last minute shopping. Noticing a trend yet regarding last minute shopping?

2000: A church with glittery snow. This ornament is a quite large and I remember wondering at the time if my little artificial tree would be able to support it. It didn't fail me.

2001: A "God Bless America" bulb with an American flag. A great reminder of 911.

2002: A George Brett figurine in his patented batting stance. What can I say? The guy in me couldn't resist such a thing. I walked into Walgreens, saw a Christmas ornament depicting my favorite Royals player, and I just had to have it. If I ever get married, I fear that our first fight will be about whether we keep this ornament or not.

2003: A blue plastic bulb with blue ribbons inside and the Kansas City Royals insignia on the outside. Hey, I was optimistic. We (yes, I use the third person when referring to my favorite baseball team) made a run at the division title in 2003 for the first time in over a decade. So, I had to commemorate it with an ornament, right? If I ever get married, our second fight will probably be over this ornament.

2004: A big white snow flake with glittery stuff. No particular meaning. I just liked it.

2005: A replica of Jeff Gordon's car. I became a NASCAR fan in 2005 and what better way to show it? Yeah, I know. This will lead to fight number three if I ever get married.

So there you have it—a quick run down of the many Christmas ornament memories I've enjoyed over the years.


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