Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Touchstone

Early December 1979, two newlyweds were walking through a mall in Norfolk VA.  They stopped in a Hallmark store and saw a beautiful display of Christmas ornaments.  This couple had nothing when they married.  He was a 3rd Class Petty Officer in the Navy and she had graduated from high school earlier that Spring.  They had a small 4 ft Christmas Tree, purchased from Sears along with a box of "all in one decorations" that included a string  of lights, a dozen glass bulbs of blue, green, gold and red.  It was a nondescript little tree, but it was theirs.  It was standing at that Hallmark store that a thought filled their hearts.  "Let's buy an ornament for every year together."  So they looked over the selection and chose an ornament to place on the tree that would remind them of this Christmas for the rest of their lives.  It would become a yearly tradition.  

We were the young couple.  We made rules for the "family Christmas tree" that must be observed yearly.

It must have colored lights.  White lights can go on other trees...but our family tree of memories is only lit with colored lights.

There will be an angel on top our tree.  My maiden name is SHEPHERD.  The Angels told the Shepherd's about the birth of Christ.  Having an Angel on my tree reminds me of my family and humble beginnings.  The Star brought the rich, wise men to the manger.

Over the years, the family Christmas tree would become a Touchstone of memories.  To decorate our tree, is to hold 33 years of marriage in our hands, our good times and our bad times.  It is emotional.  Sometimes it is painful...I pick up the ornament from that year and tears fill my eyes.  I pick up another and a giggle escapes.

It is with pride that I share with friends what each ornament represented and why it's on the tree.

Christmas Tree 2012
1987 - Cardinals Won the World Series!   Actually they just made it to the World Series, but lost to the Twins in 7.  But need I say more?

1989 - The year we learned how much FUN it is to be Mr. & Mrs. Santa!
(Our Son's second Christmas)
1984 - A year where LOVE was ALL we had.
1986 - The year we lost our first baby in pregnancy two weeks before Christmas.  My heart full of pain, my husband wanted me
to know I was always his Sweetheart.
2009 - The year I got an Ipod.  I amused my husband by "be-bopping" to the Newsboys while riding the mower.

 1985 - The year we moved to Mayport Base Florida with a Christmas so warm we grilled steaks for dinner.
2010 - Another one of THOSE years.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer while mom was dying from it.  One ornament
is hers, and one is mine.  She died Dec. 17th that year.
2006 - The year Mr. Rosey won the title "Grill Master".
(Awarded by Yours Truly)

Ah THAT Christmas... 2000.  The ornament is supposed to be the "Angel of Hope".  To us, it is an
Angel of Grief.  This year my father and my beloved aunt Doris both died of cancers.  She on Dec. 22nd and he on Dec. 25th.

2009 - The Year Amy Dent sent me a Starbucks GC and we found we COULD drink coffee...with lots of flavored creamers!
And THIS year 2012...
...a daughter in law has joined our family.


  1. Love the peek at your ornaments. I wrote about our ornaments last year. http://stephaniesmommybrain.blogspot.com/2011/12/3-favorite-christmas-tree-ornament.html

  2. Love the ornament stories! I think that more than anything else tangible in our lives, the ornaments tell the story of our lives. I have ornaments from before marriage and since and everyone tells a part of my story. my mil did something for our children that I also did- an ornament for each one til they grew up- well I kept on doing it for a while... and now I do it for our grandkids. the best part was that as their first Christmas gift after they each married we gave them an ornament box with all of "their" ornaments to begin to tell their story to their families.