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Inside the Ornament Boxes

My mom died in 1994, yet she helped me decorate my tree the other day. Just another reason I love Christmas ornaments!

As a child, I was thrilled when the lights and garland were finally strung and it was time to watch the ornaments begin to go up on the tree. Even now, while I can't say I'm overjoyed by the process of stringing many, MANY hundreds of lights (self-inflicted - I'm a big fan of lots of lights), once it comes time to open the ornament boxes, any sense I might have had of this being a bit of a chore...yet another item on the "to-do" list...vanishes.

Some of my ornaments were given to me as gifts; some came from my parents' collection; some I've picked up on my travels. Given that they've come from a variety of places, you'd be right in assuming my tree is rather eclectic; though I enjoy beatiful "themed" Christmas trees, mine is more like a wonderful "melting pot" of colors and styles.

On decorating day, something fascinating happens when I open those boxes and begin pulling out my treasures.

For instance: suddenly, my mother is beside me. Keepsakes that used to hang on my folks' tree conjure up happy childhood memories of Christmases growing up. The ornaments she presented to me later as gifts bring a smile to my face; it's as if every year she's giving them to me once again. I vividly recall the "back story" about each one. Though she died 16 years ago, while the ornaments are coming out of the box and going up on the's almost as if she never left.

My aunt, also in heaven, pops in to say hello as a gingerbread man she created using felt, ric rac and sequins finds his spot on a branch.  Others who've given me lovely ornaments as gifts over many years stop by, too - though in actuality they're all many miles away.

I'm transported in my mind to all sorts of far-flung locations, visited previously, that are associated with various treasures in the box: Orchestra Hall in Chicago, listening to the annual Apollo Chorus performance of Handel's Messiah, stepping into waterfront shops at Kona, Hawaii, poking around Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina - and on and on. 

All those people...all those fantastic places...all those warm memories...all together in my living room. Amazing. There's a special kind of magic in those ornament boxes.

Yours, too?

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