Sunday, December 11, 2011

third Sunday of Advent


Our Christmas tree lights always end up in a huge tangled clump in their storage box. Abbott took on the task of untangling them – a heroic act, that, having the patience to take it on and see it through to completion. Cal carefully unwrapped each and every ornament, remembering the story behind most of them, and placed them in groups according to who got to hang them. Every year each of us is given a new ornament. I think our tree is pretty wonderful because of it; it tells many stories. Abbott’s infant footprint in plaster of paris, made for Alexi the year he was an infant; a few I made when I was a child; a set of Thomas the Tank Engine ornaments from the year when that was all Abbott cared about. Some made by my maternal grandmother before I was born; one from my Aunt Linda from India ('Tell us about when Aunt Linda was in India.')....

From time to time I fret about what kind of holiday memories my boys will take with them into adulthood, without family living around us and any set traditions. And I realized tonight that I don't need to worry so much about that. They both know and value our family stories. I understood this fully for the first time as we unpacked the Christmas boxes and I saw what they remember. Memories happen because of the emotional content of a thing, be it a tradition, an object, an experience. The care taken in choosing the ornaments, these objects that serve as a marker of time for us, and the act of giving is in itself creating family memory, our holiday tradition, something they will remember and take with them long into the future.

And so we are fully immersed in this season, now, on this third Sunday of Advent.

8 comments:

Emily Vanessa said...

Christmas is such a special and emotional time for me and I'm sure it will be so too for your boys, wherever they are. I can never get tired of seeing these twinkling lights and you have a beautiful tree. I'M sure you all had a very special third Advent.

Jenny said...

Gah, you made me cry, Lecia. I have been lamenting the same emotions. About not having family around, or traditions. You're right. Thanks for making note of this and passing on your comfort. Merry Christmas, my friend. And rest assured that your boys will have the best memories all captured in the most beautiful photos, to say the least.

likeschocolate said...

You should wrap the lights around a cardboard square and then all you have to do is unwind them. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Catherine said...

Your photos are beautiful. I felt like I was there with you. I love ornaments with a story. It is our first Christmas away from home (we are in Costa Rica for 5 months) and it's exciting to have much less things to do surrounding the Holidays, but it feels also a bit weird to not be decorating our tree and hanging our stockings on the chimney...

Allison said...

I think you are building a perfect box of memories of Christmas for your children. The fact that you do it together, and the same way, and the ornaments mean something is just wonderful.

Tracy said...

I think you've given them a very precious gift with the writing and photos you post here every day.

Francesca said...

So true, Lecia - family stories about the past or about relatives afar or passed away are the roots of every family. Recalling them around the Christmas tree is a beautiful tradition.

KPiep said...

Sounds like your tree and ours has a lot in common. Memory trees are the best.

I've worried about our kids having traditions, and this year they finally started to ask for those things we've tried to build for them....Chinese food on Christmas eve after church and a trip by the magic tree, my cinnamon rolls for breakfast and the Christmas story from the Bible. I'm beyond thrilled that these things have come to mean so much to them.