Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
When we were kids, my sister and I each had our own special Christmas ornament. Both were painted wood angels, mine with blonde hair and a blue dress, Kelly’s with light brown hair and a pink dress (like Mary and Laura Ingalls), and our names were painted on them in black calligraphy. We each had the privilege of putting our own angel ornament on the tree year after year, even when we were older and the style of the tree had changed from plastic-candy-garland-and-homemade-glitter-stars to Mom’s fancier style (which, by the way, still included lots of glitter). I felt so special having an ornament that was only mine, and that I got to choose its place on the tree (even if Mom probably moved it later).
Now that Ruby’s first Christmas is approaching, I wanted an ornament for her that would lend itself to the same tradition. So D, Ruby and I headed to the mall, where there promised to be the largest concentration of ornament options. We looked at Belk – nothing. We looked at the personalized ornaments kiosk – found a cute rocking horse ornament, but, eh, it wasn’t special enough. We looked at Things Remembered – the engravable baby ornaments were too heavy. We looked at Hallmark – several options, but they looked too … plastic-y. Nothing seemed perfect enough.
We thought Things Remembered had the nicest, most tradition-inspiring stuff, so we went back there and debated which shape of silver ornament would be best, then what inscription to engrave, and once that was decided, debated the shape again. I couldn’t commit to a decision and suggested we go get a cookie around the corner and sit down by the fountain to discuss some more.
I was agonizing over this decision to a degree that may seem ridiculous – which D, to his credit, endured patiently – but I had a vision of Ruby eagerly searching out this ornament in the box every year and even more eagerly placing it on the tree. This was no mere ornament but a tradition in the making. It would be our first Christmas tradition as a family, Ruby’s first Christmas tradition, and it would be a part of our lives forever (barring breakage, which was too sad a thought to contemplate).
Somewhere near the end of my chocolate chip Double Doozie, it occurred to me that a silver engraved star or heart might not be that exciting to a young child. When I pictured Ruby excitedly hanging her ornament, it seemed more probable that she would like the pink and white rocking horse ornament with her name clearly printed on it in a hand a young child could easily read.
D readily agreed, and the decision was made. We scurried over to the ornament kiosk, commissioned the young lady there to write “Ruby” and “First Christmas” on the front and “2010″ on the back. Fifteen minutes (and two shoe purchases) later, we had Ruby’s perfect ornament in hand.
When we got home, we got the video camera all set to record me helping Ruby hang it for the first time. She, of course, had zero interest and wouldn’t even look at it. But that’s okay. This ornament isn’t about now; it’s about the future and all the wonderful Christmases we will get to spend together.