What Reminded Me I've Survived 32 Christmases

Collecting Christmas ornaments and decorating a tree is a common tradition for many individuals and families, but how many have experienced strong emotional and sentimental responses to carrying out this tradition? There is one ornament in my collection that has a powerful effect on me whenever I unpack it from its tissue paper padding, straighten the wire hook and find that one ideal branch to place it on my tree.

I don’t always have the energy or the physical space to put up a Christmas tree, but it’s something that is important to me if and when I can. For the first time since 2009, I was able to buy a real tree this year — a gorgeous and fragrant black hills spruce. I acknowledge that it sounds a little bougie and extravagant, but after the year I’ve had, it turned out to be the closure to many wounds and I knew I’d made the right decision to help heal my spirit. The soft aroma of evergreen sap provided the pick-me-up I desperately needed this time of year.

2017 has been unkind to me and my loved ones to say the least. And the holiday season has a real knack for making everything bad seem worse. Four days ago, I was writing suicidal poetry and doing everything I could to will myself to carry through another emotional holiday. Surviving to see 2018 seemed like it would take a real-life miracle.

Somehow, I found the motivation to embrace the good that comes from this time of year and I took stock of my options. When I realized I could put up a Christmas tree this year it was the first gleam of hope I’d felt since before Halloween. The florist across the highway from where I live had recently set up their live tree lot, and I decided to make that a priority.

This evening as I unpacked the ornaments — one ornament brought so much feeling to me that I had to stop and take a picture of it. It’s an ornament that so many probably have some variation of. It’s dated 1985, with a cheerful mouse topping its globe shape, and emblazoned with “Baby’s 1st Christmas.”

I’ve survived 32 Christmases.

I will survive this one.

christmas ornament hanging on tree

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