Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Great Christmas Tree Tour 2016: Diane Kenyon

Our Christmas trees have evolved many times over the years. We’ve had big trees, small trees, trees on tables, trees in playpens, or trees that filled a room. We’ve had hand-me-down trees and brand new trees, trees from a box and potted trees. But one thing hasn’t changed: the ornaments on every tree have told our story.

I always told myself we’d never have a theme tree. I’ve never wanted to have a tree that matches, that is color-coordinated, or that has ornaments that match in some way. That’s just not my style. But then I realized something. Our trees do have a theme. And the theme is family. 

Both my husband and I grew up in families with an eclectic collection of ornaments, and we continued that tradition. On our tree, we have ornaments that were mine as a child, ones that our children made when they were small, ones that were chosen special for each of us, ornaments that make us nostalgic, and ones that make us laugh. 

It became a tradition for me to find ornaments to put in each of our stockings every year. And while our earliest full-size tree had garlands and ordinary glass balls to fill in the bare spots, when we put our tree up this year, we realized how full it is with only our special ornaments. We no longer use garland, or the colored balls. We now have a simple strand of white lights, a star for the top, and the ornaments.

In fact, as we decorated on the day after Thanksgiving this year, our son, Eric, (who is now twenty) told me that we had no more room and I should stop buying ornaments every year. I told him not to be silly!

As he and his sister, Amy, (who is twenty-four and an English teacher) grow their own households, they may want to take some of their childhood ornaments with them. Amy is all for this, while Eric will pretend he doesn’t want any of them, especially the childhood ones that now embarrass him. But someday he’ll change his mind.

I know he will, because as we put up our tree every year, while there may be some groaning and complaining about how it takes forever and we don’t have any more space, there is always laughter and reminiscing, and echoes of “remember when” as we slowly empty the ornament box. Each ornament has a story, a story of who made it when, or who got it from whom, or what period of childhood it came from, or simply why it’s pretty or special to one of us.

So, I’ll continue to buy ornaments every year, even when it’s hard to find that unique or special one for each person. Because I love every ornament, and the memories they contain. And someday I will expand the tradition as our family grows. Because I like the theme our tree reveals, the theme of family.

About Diane

Diane Kenyon is an aspiring women's fiction author. When she isn't writing, Diane adores reading, knitting, scrapbooking, and her family--although not in that order.

Of her life accomplishments, she is most proud of her English teacher daughter and her Physics major son. In their spare time, she and her husband of 28 years love to travel.

Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website


  1. That's true - my tree is a hodgepodge of family memories and the theme of love. Each ornament means something special, a period of my life that I recall with a smile. The kids are growing older - I don't look forward to the future but it's a changing part of life.

    1. I know exactly what you mean! I've embraced the changes in our family, but I get sentimental when I put those childhood ornaments on the tree. But my kids know I'm a sap! ;-)

  2. I love your tree! I, too, have many ornaments saved from when my girls were young--they're now 28 and 31. These types of trees with family 'heirlooms' are so much nicer than the Designer Trees. They hold cherished memories. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks! I hope when my kids do decide to take some ornaments, they don't take all of them. I need some of their childhood to remain on my tree.