This Christmas we have two Christmas trees. The fake one we bought our first Christmas and a real one!
In celebration of finally ARRIVING, we decided to splurge and buy a $25 barrel's worth of coordinating, shatterproof ornaments. They are lovely, and currently adorning the fake tree in our living room.
But the real tree...well the real tree is decorated differently. It's decorated in what I like to think of as "real life". A hodge podge of ornaments that we've either made or collected through the years.
There's the few, surviving red ornaments picked up at a Village Green yard sale. The wax tooth Rob carved his first year of dental school. There's also the homemade "First Christmas Together" Ornament that we made a year late because we were too busy with finals to actually make/buy one that first Christmas together. A few years later we bought a "First Christmas Ornament" that just happened to have the right year on it. One of those special Christmases when we actually felt comfortable spending the money ornaments cost. There's the one remaining cinnamon ornament and a few white balls (vestiges of what used to be home-made snowmen ornaments) all from our first Christmas together.
Then there are all the other ornaments we've made together, both for the frugality and the shared time together. The cloth stars made on a Super Saturday in Council Bluffs. The four glass ornaments all painted. One says Amanda loves Rob. Jane found that one this morning. She demanded to paint the last, still unpainted, ornament in the box so that it said Max loves Jane. Because someone has to love Jane. So now we have a frosted, glass ball with some black squiggles on it that say more than any learned "reader" would every be able to see.
But nestled between the crocheted snowflakes and Baby's first Christmas ornaments are perhaps the smallest and ugliest ornaments ever. They're my button ornaments.
I made them when Rob was in dental school. We were on a very tight budget and didn't have money to go out and buy ornaments. We'd been slowly building up a store of homemade ones over the last three years, but many of them had crumbled and broken and there just wasn't much to put on my tree. I wanted so desperately to decorate for Christmas. Really decorate like my mom always did. But I didn't have the money. So I made do with what I had. A large supply of rainbow-colored buttons, left over from a failed craft project.
And yet, those button ornaments are still hanging around at the bottom of my ornament bag. Three years later, I'm still pulling them out. And this Christmas, when I feel so blessed. This Christmas when I actually had the money to go out and BUY my own ornaments, I hung those little buttons on the tree with pride and reminisced with Rob about school and how tight the money had been. And then I looked at my life and where I am now and today I thank the Lord for all of my many blessings.
Those button ornaments may be the silliest ornaments on the tree. But I don't think I can ever get rid of them. They're much too valuable.