Christmas cheer.

I've seen and admired so many beautiful Christmas trees through the years. Some are themed, some were massive, some simply took my breath away but there is one each year that means the most to me. It is of course the one at our house. Our tree is sometimes a live one, sometimes fresh cut, sometimes an artificial one. Our circumstances determine the type of tree we have each year. The important thing is now so much the tree itself but rather how we decorate it.

When Janis & I were first married (thirty-eight and a half years ago) our first trees had a combination of new and hand-me-down lights and ornaments. We didn't have much money to spend on ornaments and decorations. Janis, an avid sewer and crafter soon added some hand sewn and stiched ornaments to the tree in those early years. These beautiful ornaments are carefully tucked away after each year to be hung in an honored place on the tree to this day.

As Peter and Rebecca came along they too got into the spirit of things and crafted ornaments to added to the family collection. The first was by Peter, only three or four years old at the time. It still is hung every year.

Other family members and extended family too created hand made ornaments and added them to our collection. It wasn't long until the storebought ornaments were permanently retired. The handmade ornament collection grew to the point we could no longer fit them all on our Christmas tree. As we unpack them each year we decide which ones will be displayed this year.

This year Phoebe added a number of new ornaments to the tree, hand painted in her unique style. These, along with the rest will be treasured for years to come.

Our Christmas tree now displays hand crafted ormanents from four generations of family and friends as well, all who have shared many happy times in our home. As we carefully hang the ornaments each year we are reminded of times spent together. The Christmas collection continues to grow each year of course. Next year when we are in the new house we will be able to finally have a large enough tree to display them all at once. It will be the best tree ever I'm sure. But this year our current tree takes that honor.

Merry Christmas to all!

-grampa dan