Thursday, December 6, 2007

decorating the tree

My Christmas tree is up and decorated. I love it. My tree is one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I love ornaments - always have. I've made it a practice to purchase one new ornament each year. That's on top of ones that are given to me. So if you do the math, I have quite the collection, and it's very eclectic. But each one is special to me and as I place it on the tree, I remember where it came from and if it was a gift, I reflect on who gave it to me.

One regret I have when it comes to decorating my tree is that I pretty well do it by myself. It's not that I mind doing it myself. In fact, I enjoy my time alone with the tree. What I regret is my family feeling like they can't help. And it's my fault they feel this way. It's a mistake I wish I could go back and do differently.

Since decorating my tree has always been a passion [and a little bit of an obsession], I didn't let my kids do too much ornament hanging when they were younger. GASP! I know... I'm a terrible mother. I didn't realize what I was doing until it was too late. It wasn't until they were older that they started making comments like, "we don't put ornaments on because mom will just move them anyways," or "the tree has to be perfect."

Believe me, I feel very guilty and wish I hadn't been so obsessive about it. I wish I could have let go of the control and just let the kids have a good time - not worrying what the tree ended up looking like. I just didn't realize what I was doing and what kind of legacy I was leaving for my kids.

I did end up relinquishing control but it was too late. Even though I invite Dani and Jake to help me decorate, they don't really have any desire to do so. That makes me sad, but it is what it is, and there's not much I can do about it now.

So let this be a lesson to any of you who are reading this and have young kids at home. Let them join in the enjoyment of decorating the family tree. Don't worry about what it looks like. It's more important that they participate than to have that perfect tree.

And Dani and Jake - if you're reading this - I'm sorry I robbed you of the joy of the tradition of decorating the family Christmas tree. I wish I could go back and change that for the both of you.

link of the day:


Penless Thoughts said...

I opted not to put up the tree this year and just decorate the rest of the house with the Christmas stuff. I know what you mean about each special ornament though. That's what makes them so special.

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

Diana, as I read this I thought of how much this sounded like me. Back in the day when our kids were little we didn't have blogs where friends shared great family ideas. I read many posts and wish I could go back and do things differently with my girls. I didn't create special traditions like I wish I would have.

I know my kids had great childhoods, but one memory they will never have is one of decorating the did it!

I hope to have grandkids someday and maybe begin some wonderful new traditions with them.

Amber said...

This year, we Haddie helped hang ornaments for the first time. In future years, I want some hand-made crafts on there. I feel the same as you - I had a mom who never let us help so I want to open it up for our kids!

Just Mom said...

Last year was the first year I let my son help me decorate the tree. He grabbed four small ornaments and put them all on the same branch. I kept them there throughout Christmas, even though the urge was very strong to spread them out more evenly. This year he only had interest in putting up one ornament. We might put up some more handmade ones as Christmas approaches.

Melissa said...

Friend, I admire your honesty in so many ways! Maybe if you asked again, told them it was important to you for them to help?? Or maybe if you told them about each ornament and what it means to you? Just some thoughts... thanks for the advice. I let the kids help, but I usually rearrange things afterwards... maybe not this year.

Short Stop said...

I, too, just admire your honesty so much! I feel like I gather so much wisdom from you because you are so willing to share your true feelings, and you often give advice to us newer moms...I value it so very much!

Our Family of Five said...

I relate though, I have the same struggle. One thing that has helped me with this is having two trees.... I know it can be kind of crazy and a little much, but then there's one for the kids to decorate however they wish and then there's one for me, that's decorated just the way I like it with all of my 'nice' ornaments.

This year is the first year we haven't had two trees in a long time. I'm biting my tongue and relaxing a lot. A whole lot. :)

Lynne said...

I've always decorated our tree alone, unless you count the cat, who likes to "assist" with the lights and garland. Honestly, he thinks it's one giant cat toy!

Carlos isn't really into the tree thing, but I also treasure my ornaments and if I ever get my tree up, you can be sure you will be seeing them in future posts.

SharonB said...

Diana thank you for sharing this. When my boys were we would decorate the tree together sharing the memories of each ornament, it was precious and I cherish those memories. But as teenagers they really didn't have an I don't know...did I create any traditions? Maybe they have memories...but honestly they are boys...I don't think they "get it"

Momma Roar said...

I love going through the ornaments as I hang each one up. Since I was 5, I received one from my aunt and my mom has kept the tradition going. It was so neat to show the kids the ornament I got when I was 5 - since Quintin is 5.

I did find myself moving a few ornaments - it is hard. I appreciate your honesty and for sharing it with us! :)

Kelli said...

Your honestly is wonderful, Diana. I understand completely, as I have done the same thing before. Thank you for the reminder to treasures all those candycanes on the same branch. :0)
P.s. You asked about the origin of St. Nicholas Day. Here is a link that I hope is helpful.

MightyMom said...

ummmmm good post. I have not yet had the kids help with the tree...think I'll start this year...whenever daddy-o gets it up. I always have an "unbreakable tree" so they could easily help....since I've begun making ornaments every year it's been fun to get em all out.