We are finished decorating for Christmas. We pulled everything down from the attic, put up what we could, then returned the empty or nearly empty boxes and tubs back in the attic until it’s time to put it all away for another year. If we ever build a house, I’m going to make sure it has a closet to store a fully decorated tree on wheels that can be rolled in and out when needed.

We don’t go all out with the decorations. I know some people invest lots of time and money decorating inside and out. We put up a tree and a few nativity scenes indoors, but a wreath on the front door is about as far as we go with outdoor embellishments. It’s not that we don’t like the decorations, because we do; it’s just that with the kids grown and pretty much gone, it takes a little of the enthusiasm out of the whole process – besides, putting the ornaments on the tree was usually their job!

I put on the ornaments on the tree this year. Among our ornament collection there are a few that have increasing value with each passing season. They are not the collector’s editions put out by Hallmark. There are none made of precious metals or that are studded with pricey gemstones. Those of growing value are the ones that were handmade by the little hands of our children back when they were children.

Can I make a confession here? Years ago when I’d be helping to decorate, I hung the nice store-bought ornaments on the front of the tree. Some were pretty cool with motion and lights. Others were emblazoned with the emblems of our favorite sports teams. I even had a few some superhero ornaments that claimed the prime spots of the branches. But things are a little different now.

Now the little plastic bell with a smiling little girl on it gets a prominent location. Also claiming a top spot is a paper Christmas tree colored carefully with green markers. The popsicle stick Rudolf has lost its red nose, but is still has a higher value than the flying Superman ornament. There’s no way I’d hide those on the back of the tree. My children may not be here throughout the Christmas holiday, but our home and tree are filled with symbols of a love that is not diminished by the miles.

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