For those of you who’ve known me a while, you may recall the “Jingle Socks.”
The Jingle Socks were a pair of dubious quality holiday socks I’d always put on while decorating the Christmas tree. Well, two years ago, I tried to don my gay apparel, and my toe went right through the jingle, and that was the end of that. So that year (last year), we decorated our new dog instead with some tinsel, and he was not amused.
We came up with something else this year. There’s Coach, all ready to help us (read: watch and stare in confusion) with the Christmas Tree.
Now, if you haven’t heard of my Christmas tree ornament tradition, there’s a Flickr Album explaining the whole journey, but the short version is this: in 1996, I found myself very alone for Christmas. I had been disinvited (which is a kind way of putting it) and was looking ahead to starting a solo path with no idea how to do so. At the time, I managed to save up enough money to buy the last floor-model (heavily marked down) of a false Christmas tree at the department store of the mall, and I brought it to my tiny apartment and thought I’d just have to make my own merry. What I really hoped for at the time was to have something—anything—to feel good about during the holidays. So I bought the tree, lugged it home (on the bus no less, which was an adventure, let me tell you), and set it up. It barely fit in my tiny little bachelor pad, but I stepped back, nodded to myself…
And realized I had no ornaments.
I ended up decorating that first tree with a box of candy-canes, and one of my friends, who did cross-stitch, made me a single Christmas ornament. The next year, I bought a set of plain white ornaments to fill the tree up a bit, and another friend bought me a unique ornament (a little mouse with a typewriter sending a letter to Santa), and a tradition was born. Every year, I found an ornament that spoke to me about the year, or was involved in something I did that year, and as my collection grew, decorating the tree became something joyous I looked forward to every year.
As my friends learned about this tradition, I started to receive more than one ornament a year. When I got married, my husband and I also started to give each other ornaments in our stockings.
This year’s ornament? It might remind you of someone.
We put our tree up today, and my husband and I marvelled at how quickly the tree was “full” (for the first time ever, we didn’t put all the ornaments on the tree – we ran out of room, and some ended up back in the box from those years where we had duplicates).
I’m always humbled when I put up my tree, and that over-abundance of this year’s ornaments was all the more moving. Back in 1996 I felt unloveable and very much alone. Today I feel overwhelmed with love, to be so surrounded by friends and family—and an awesome dog, too.
This is this year’s tree. We had another ornament break this year – one of Dan’s, from his first Christmas set, but happily there are still three of those ornaments left. Last year, one of my dated ornaments (from 1998) broke. It happens. Happily, I have my photographs of them all, and there are other years to celebrate and remember.
In abundance, no less.
The tree is full because my life is full.
That kid in 1996? He got everything he was hoping for.