My Christmas Tree Is Full of Stories

I know many people who view decorating their Christmas tree as an art form. Their Christmas tree is the centerpiece of their home for the holidays. Perhaps all their tree lights are white, or only one color of ornaments hang from the branches. Or maybe there is a theme – Santas, or snowflakes, or even favorite sports teams.

That’s not for me. Anything that glitters and can be held by a hook might find a place on my tree. And so, my Christmas tree is full of stories. Every ornament has its own memory, its own story that it holds in safe-keeping year after year. These are a few of my favorites:


My first grade teacher, Sister Mary Cecelia, gave all the children in her classroom a music themed ornament for Christmas 1958. Sister Cecelia was my introduction to music. Because of her, we sang in school every day, and learned all manner of music via call-and-response and Kodaly. My first grade class sang Gregorian chant in Latin before most of us could read “Run, Spot, run.”

This little angel holds her bow with her palm facing upwards, which means she is playing a member of the viola de gamba family. Fifty years later, I begin playing early music in a recorder ensemble and hanging out with a vexation of viol players. If only Sister Cecelia could have known what seeds she planted.



My college roommate gave me this tiny crèche the first year we roomed together. It hung over my desk while I was in college. It has hung on my tree every year since, reminding me of that sweet friendship so long ago.





My first Christmas out of college, my housemates and I were much too poor to buy a tree or ornaments. We found a discarded Christmas tree at an elementary school that was closed for the holidays. (In the ancient days before fire codes, classrooms could have live Christmas trees.) With a couple of dollars worth of felt and embroidery floss, we stitched our own stars. The Grinch is right – Christmas doesn’t come from a store.




My niece and nephew, aged 6 and 4 in 1990, made applesauce and cinnamon ornaments and mailed them to us from Birmingham. The cinnamon scent of Christmas faded away long ago, but this one ornament remains intact, telling the tale of tiny hands wishing their Aunt a Merry Christmas from far away.





Christmas is different in the Southwest. Santa might wear a cowboy hat and bolo tie. Coyotes, not reindeer, roam the range. And Spirit Bears help Christmas wishes come true.



What stories can your Christmas tree tell? Please share your tree tales in the comments section! And on this Christmas eve, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!





6 thoughts on “My Christmas Tree Is Full of Stories

  1. For the last two years, I’ve had to keep my treasured ornaments packed away. The arrival of a feisty, young cat means I have to protect breakable, sentimental ornaments. Instead, I’m decorating my tree with pretty ornaments that remind me of memories and places I love. That way I still get that warm and fuzzy feeling, but I won’t be heartbroken if the cat breaks something!


    1. Same here, C.B. My new kitten arrived the end of September. All the antique and breakable ornaments stayed safely tucked away in the attic again this year. My tiny tree wouldn’t have room for them anyway. I got a small tree in case I had to pick it up after cats climbing it knocked it over. So far they’ve left it intact. Though I do find the occasional ornament on my bathroom floor. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and that you have a joyful start to the new year.


  2. As we head to a Christmas Eve worship service, I write from the back seat of the car, just glad that the hearttoharp lady is writing again. Merry Christmas, Friend!


  3. Our tree is full of stories, too. I love this post and wish you both a very Merry Christmas! I have treasures my daughters made in preschool and treasures I received from preschool children I taught. There are the ornaments with the names of my daughters on them that they still, in their 40s move around so their sister’s is hidden in back. There is the sun and moon David and I got our first year together, and the bride and groom his sister gave us our first Christmas. The northwest, the southwest and Italy are represented, as is Graceland. All the grands have small ornaments with their names. So many stories, and a delightfully disorganized tree. I love it!


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