Nuestro Arbol De Navidad De Memorias

By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, December 3, 2011

A photographic image of two girls from Russell County, Kansas, the was taken in 1880.

This 1880 photo from Russell County, Kansas, reminds us that it is time get out the Christmas ornaments! [Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.]

As I open the box of Christmas ornaments each year, the familiar objects greet me like friends from the past. They all have a story. Each one tells a little bit of our family history.

Among the earliest ones are some plastic stars. One is red, and another is white while the third one is blue. They remind me that even during the holidays, the patriotism of World War II made its way onto the tiny Christmas tree that my mother bought as a young woman.

Another memory comes from two plastic balls with a swirled pattern. One is light pink while the other is pale green. Mother bought them soon after my birth so that there would be ornaments that I could touch the next year when I would be grasping at pretty objects.

Although we bought one or two new ornaments each year while I was growing up, the tradition of buying ornaments that a child could touch continued when my nephews were born. I was still in school and Mother was a widow working as a bookkeeper and secretary when she and I bought some shiny, plastic balls that resembled the twirling globes of the discotheque era that was yet to come. We purchased them with the hope that my nephews would direct their attention to those bright ornaments and leave the fragile ones alone.

When Mother remarried, my stepfather declared that our unmatched set of ornaments from the past were, "Just junk!" He wanted to throw them away, but Mother told him they belonged to me. She temporarily stored them away and brought them out as a gift when Morris and I married. Consequently, we did not have to buy ornaments for our first Christmas tree in our small apartment in Kansas.

A photographic image our Christmas tree when we lived in Topeka, Kansas.

This was our first Christmas tree. [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Sr.]

After we bought a metal stand for the real tree we had purchased, I happily opened the cardboard boxes in which Mother had stored the ornaments. Morris and I vowed that we would always have real trees and would never buy an artificial one.

By our fourth Christmas, we were in Nebraska. After we bought our Christmas tree, we noticed that its trunk was bent. As Morris struggled to make it appear straight in the tree stand, a rash broke out on his skin. He realized that he was allergic to it.

A photographic image our Christmas tree when we lived in Nebraska.

We remember this one as "the allergy tree". [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Sr.]

Although we vacuumed many times after Christmas, we continued to find needles from the tree in the carpet. When we moved from that house the following spring, we found more needles from it.

After our baby was born, we decided that we didn't want Christmas tree needles in the carpet while our son was crawling on the floor. So, we reversed our earlier decision and finally bought an artificial Christmas tree. Morris was relieved that he would never be allergic to another Christmas tree. We were also saving the life of a tree and of many more in the years to come.

So that our son could touch the ornaments on the lower branches of the tree, I bought some fabric from which I made soft ornaments that I stuffed with fiber filling. One soft ornament that I bought was a fuzzy, gray mouse with a red Santa hat and black eyes made of felt. I knew that our young son would enjoy cuddling the creature. He cuddled the mouse so often that one of the eyes fell off. I bought some plastic eyes at a crafts store and sewed them on so that both eyes matched.

As our son grew, he added his own creations to our tree. A particularly memorable piece resembles a snail that he painted bright yellow. He was three years old when he made that one out of clay in Sunday School. Although it doesn't fit the Christmas theme, I still hang it with pride every year because our young son made it with love.

When friends have sent us ornaments, I have added them to our collection. Some of my former students have returned to their home countries and have sent me back small gifts that I have hung on our Christmas tree. Consequently, we have ornaments from China and Japan.

When a special gift had a blue snowman as part of the trimming, I immediately hung it on our tree. Our son remarked that a snowman was supposed to be white rather than blue. We explained that he was blue from the cold. However, the paint on the snowman has faded over the years so that he is now nearly white.

A photographic image of a Christmas tree with gold ornaments.

A color-coordinated tree leaves no room for memories from previous years. [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Sr.]

Yes, I have seen color-coordinated ornaments hung symmetrically on Christmas trees in the homes of other people. Those trees could have come straight out of a department store.

The owner of one such tree tried to phrase it diplomatically when she saw our decorations one year.

"Oh, my Mary! You certainly have an eclectic assortment!"

That is because our lives are an unmatched collection of experiences, as yours must be, too. We prefer our Memory Tree because it reminds us of how far the Lord has brought us. We have so much to be thankful for! Just in case we forget, our Memory Tree reminds us every December of the many benefits that the Lord has provided through the years.

Among them, we are thankful for you. As of this morning, people from 47 countries have visited our Webbsite, including you. Thank you for taking the time to include us as part of your weekly Internet routine. We pray for you, and for all of our visitors to our Webbsite, that the Lord will bless you richly so that you can say, as we do, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits." - Psalm 103:2, New King James Version.

Bible verse for this week:

Psalm 103:2 "2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits." (New King James Version)

Salmos 103:2 "2) Bendice, alma mía, a Jehová, Y no olvides ninguno de sus beneficios." (Reina-Valera 1960)

A photographic image of our Christmas tree in 2010.

This is our Memory Tree. We will be adding new memories to it as we decorate it again this year. [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Jr.]

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