the sluiter tree

This past weekend we pulled out the four tubs of Christmas decor and got down to it.

I was pretty excited because this is really the first year Eddie “gets” holidays and birthdays and all those fun things.  So when we started talking about Christmas, he started getting just as excited as I always do.

After all the other stuff around the house was in place, Eddie begged to also put up the tree.

With that much excitement, you can’t turn the three-year-old down.  So Cort got our fake tree out (after 32 years of having a real tree, we broke down and bought a fake one last year.  Best decision ever when you have tiny people in the house) and I started sorting the lights.

Growing up, we didn’t have a themed tree–even though my mom desperately wanted one.  In fact, she keeps threatening to ditch the giant colored lights for tiny white ones.  It was full of homemade ornaments and stuff we made in school and Sunday school.  It still is.  My parents’ tree still gets my Baby’s First Christmas ornament hung on it.

Cort’s mom didn’t theme their tree either, but she did start a tradition that I have carried on with my boys.

When Cort and I got married, his mom handed him a shoe box with his  name on it.  Inside were all his ornaments.  His mom had a tradition of buying the kids ornaments each year.  If she couldn’t get one with their name on it, she would put their name on it somewhere along with the year.

I’ll admit, I found it weird that she just handed him his ornaments.  Didn’t she want them for her own tree?

But since having my own kids, I have grown to adore this tradition she created.  In fact, three years ago, I made and Eddie box and this year I will get to make a Charlie box.

Eddie’s very first ornament

Our tree is covered in personalized ornaments.  Currently there are three Baby’s First ornaments.  Two from 1978 and one from 2009.  This year, a 2012 will be added.

Cort’s first Christmas

My first Christmas

Eddie was so excited to see what was in his box.  Like I said, this is the first year he really gets it, so seeing what ornaments have been collected for him made him so happy.

Two ornaments that were made in daycare with his little hand.

When Eddie found this little hand, he thought it was Charlie’s.  I told him, no.  Miss Amy made this with you when you were as little as Charlie.  Last year when I put this on the tree I cried.  This year, we put it up against Eddie’s hand to see how much he had grown.  My heart grew three sizes when he said, “wow. that is awesome, mom.”

18 month old Eddie

Yup, we have a homemade themed Christmas tree.  Someday my kids will laugh as i hang old Popsicle stick frames and paper stars with glitter on my tree.

They won’t remember how excited they were to give me these treasures.  How their faces lit up with pride that this is the gift they created just for me and their dad.

But I will remember.

How can I throw away treasures that remind me of how small these boys once were?

So our tree is covered in paper and paint and glitter and sticks.  It is also covered in little treasures that remind us of our unique personalities and interests.

one from the Cortney box

And each year we will add a new ornament to the tree for the boys.  In fact, I made a little trip to Hallmark earlier this week for the 2012 ornaments…but you will have to wait until Christmas to see those because Santa brings the new ornaments.

The 2011 Eddie ornament

Does your tree have a theme?

Do you get your kids ornaments every year?  Will you send their ornaments on with them when they leave your nest?

I think I will.  But I might keep their Baby’s First Christmas ornaments for myself or maybe I will keep the ones they made as gifts to me.  Because I am selfish that way.

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