When I first moved out of my parent's house and had my own Christmas tree, I didn't have a lot of ornaments. I realize I could have bought a set of color-coordinated ornaments from Wal-Mart, but I didn't want that kind of tree. Trees like that are pretty, but I honestly don't understand people who decorate their trees this way. For me, everything is a story. The tree tells a story about the people it belongs to, so I'm not sure what a tree decorated with all blue and silver ornaments, ribbons, and lights is saying. You like blue? And silver? You think spheres are awesome? Okay.
I had a few things I had bought at craft fairs and discount stores, but it was really kind of sad little collection that didn't tell anything about me. My tree didn't stay that way for long because I'm a teacher. As a teacher, you receive an average of three to five new ornaments each Christmas. It's like a holiday law. My tree started to have a little more character with each passing year.
Of course you get the standard "teacher" ornaments, but there really is a variety in these.
This is one I got last year.
The little boy who gave me this one, "engraved" my name on it himself.
It's nice to get these out each year and remember the kids who gave them to me. But I also have been gifted with some non-teacher ornaments from students over the years that remind me of those students, despite the fact that there's no mention of me being their teacher.
There's this one given to me by a student who is now a junior in high school...
This one was from a more recent student who got it at a local business in town...
A seven year old boy named P.J. gave me this cute bear. He would be about 20 years old now.
And this one I just got yesterday. My first black pug ornament! This was thanks to a student whose grandmother is a friend of mine and knows how much I love my dog...
And then there are the ones that are handmade.
This little girl has made me an ornament for the past two years. She knows purple is my fave!
The girl who gave me this one inserted a handwritten note...
And the little boy who made this snow queen is probably out of college by now...
This next one is a favorite.
The first grade boy who gave me this had an older sister who was diagnosed with leukemia the year he gave it to me. It was a rough year for him and his family. I was his teacher for first and second grade while she underwent treatment. I took another teaching position the next year and moved to a city far away from them, but I continued to get a Christmas card from them that always pictured him with his two sisters. The first two years the sister with leukemia had no hair in the pictures. But the next one I received was a great surprise -her hair had all grown back! She was in remission! I always think of them when I get this one out and hang it on the tree.
My tree isn't color-coordinated. There is no theme. Wait, that's not true - stories. My tree does have a theme. It's just not one you can see.