Over the years, my family has amassed a rather large collection of ornaments. Some were there before I was born, brought from Christmases in Chicago. Others are craft projects by me or my sister, fashioned in school or church, and looking more worn every year they've been drug out of the box.
You can look into the boxes and tell what we've collected over the years. Churches, pineapples, and lighthouses for Mom. Penguins for my sister. Soccer and baseball for my nephews. Barbies, angels, pigs, snow globes and Starbucks for me.
Some ornaments show places we've been: Chicago, Las Vegas, Williamsburg, Myrtle Beach, and more.
Others are from friends who have traveled and thought of us.
There are fragile, hand-blown ornaments that get hung at the very top, for fear of being bumped off the tree and broken, and then there are those that are safe to be on the bottom branches, even if the cat decides to play with them.
You can usually tell which of us decorated the tree by what ornaments make it to the tree, and which ones get left behind in the boxes. Some years we've set up a second tree in the family room to put the more fun, pop-culture type ornaments on it.
Every year we say that we're not going to put all of them out, and yet, not including certain ornaments feels like you aren't remembering the sentiment it represents. Therefore, there are always more on the tree than originally planned, and yet, still plenty more in the boxes that could be displayed.
Maybe we need three trees this year.