Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Greatest Christmas Treasures . . .

Christmas 2017
All of us

The greatest Christmas treasures are not always under the tree.  Some of them are memories the eyes can't see. Some come without paper and bows. Some don't even come from a store, but from the heart. That's what I have tried to do every year for my children. It's a little tradition I started before they were born. Making them their own stockings and ornaments every year to preserve their childhood Christmases in unique "heirloom" pieces they would have forever.  

This year, as my older daughter is married and has her own home, I will take down my tree and pack up all their childhood ornaments in separate boxes I bought last year, for them to keep. This is the last Christmas they will hang on my tree.  They will be carefully preserved until such time as my children would like to display them or just look at them, and hopefully be reminded of all their past Christmases.

This is the letter I will place each box for them.

Dear Melissa and Lauren:

In the box I am giving you are all the Christmas ornaments I made for you over the years. I could've bought annual ornaments from the store, but I wanted you to have your own one of a kind ornaments. I did the same thing with your stockings, taking things from various counted cross stitch patterns and putting them together to make one unique design. Each year that I made a new ornament I chose a "theme" for Melissa's ornament and then when Lauren got to that # Christmas, I found a different pattern to use for hers with the same theme. So, for example, Melissa's first Christmas ornament was a little stocking parodied off her big stocking and I did the same for Lauren for her first Christmas. I loved coming up with different ideas like the horse heads, purses, angels, Santas, trees, chairs, snowflakes . . . thinking one day, when you had trees of your own, you would put them up and have reminders of your childhood Christmases in your homes for years to come. 

The Stockings

Melissa used to complained that Lauren's stocking had a lot more designs on it when she was little. She didn't realize I had gotten more experience over the years and it was easier to be more creative and figure out the placement of designs. Lauren always complained that Melissa's stocking was bigger and could hold more presents, even though I put the same number of gifts in each one. She also didn't realized that I freehanded the pattern/shape of the stocking and they were supposed to be the same size. The difference was unintentional and not what I was going for at all. I also wanted them to be the same size and shape, but when things are handmade no two things come out identical.

Some of the annual ornaments

Every year we took family vacations, I tried to remember to get a souvenir Christmas ornament for each of you to hang on the tree also as a reminder of the memories we shared as a family every year. I was so happy when I could find tiny ornaments with your names on them to hang on the tree that year. It wasn't always possible, but it was just a little tradition I tried to keep up with.  Of course, you were both more concerned with the presents going under the tree than the little keepsake and handmade ornaments that were hanging on it.  

A lot of love and thought went into each little stitch. I wasn't just thinking of the moment or that particular Christmas. I was also thinking of the future and how you would unwrap each ornament and show them to your children and tell them how I would make these every year for you. I made them to try and capture and save the memories that I cherished so much. I made them to remember the happiness and joy we all shared each year. And one day, maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day, I know you will open this box of treasures and realize what I tried to do and that maybe these little handmade things were really the greatest gifts you received every year.

May all your Christmases be full of love and happy memories.  Love you both so much.


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