Preserving Memories Through Christmas Ornaments

Julie - Bakersfield, California
Entered on January 1, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Preserving Memories through Christmas Ornaments

I believe in preserving memories through Christmas ornaments. Time advances swiftly, relentlessly. I sometimes feel like I am on a fast-moving train. I peer out the window at a breathtaking landscape and then it passes out of sight, as the train moves ever forward, never to return to that particular scene again. I wish I could suspend time and sustain those happy moments of childhood, romantic love, the birth of my children and the shared adventures of raising a family. But it is like trying to capture a delicate soap bubble floating in the air. You touch it, and it disappears.

Still, I try to find ways to keep the memory of the special moments poignant and real. One tradition was introduced to me years ago by my eighth-grade English teacher, a special woman who instilled in me a love of teaching and writing. One day she shared with our class a special collection of Christmas ornaments that she and her husband had acquired throughout their marriage. Each ornament represented a special event in their lives. I remember the tender expression on her face as she held up each ornament and described its special significance. Those ornaments weren’t just glass, plastic and wooden objects. They stored the memories of her past experiences. They were her life story.

I have tried through the years to follow my teacher’s example to create a life story through a collection of Christmas ornaments. It has become a special tradition for my family. Each momentous event in our lives-love, marriage, anniversaries, and births is represented by the ornaments hanging on our tree. Each of our special interests, hobbies and talents has been documented by one of these ornaments. Each year, our children look forward to receiving the new ornament that reflects something important about them.

As we bring out the ornaments each Christmas season, we tell our life story together. We remember. We cannot suspend time, but I believe that we can preserve the memory of those special past moments in something as simple and beautiful as a personal collection of Christmas ornaments.