Part of what gives Christmas it's emotional weight (at least for me) is the accumulated history of tradition. I thought about that as we decorated this past weekend.
For us, just about every ornament has its own story, and recalling those stories is part of what makes this season special.
Take the picture at right, for example. This hand-carved set of a mother cat and kitten drinking milk we purchased back in 1987. It was made in East Germany -- a country that no longer exists. I believe this set cost us about $15.00 (after Unification, the price jumped to $45.00).
We purchased the ornament at the Persimmon Corner, a boutique gift shop in downtown Charlottesville, VA. The store closed in the 1990's when the owner retired. But it was a great place to find the small wooden ornaments we needed for our Scandinavian tree.
The tree was given to us shortly after we were married by a good friend. It's made of wooden paddles that fan out to hold the ornaments, which are all less than an inch tall (or significantly smaller for the upper parts of the tree). She's long since moved away, but her gift remained. And after 25 years, we finally found enough ornaments to fill it.
So there's a lot of memories wrapped up in this little wooden set -- the shopping trips to one of our favorite store, good times with our friend, decorating in years past with toddlers, young children, and teens, and it's something of a historic artifact at this point.
And that's just one ornament on one tree.
Traditions are a way to help us remember. So what memories do your holiday traditions hold?