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Holiday treasures

We finally got around to putting up the Christmas tree today. It's one of my favorite holiday rituals.

We've come a long way from the year me and my husband (who was then just a boyfriend) bought a bunch of cheap tinsel and those satin red balls at a discount store to throw together a tree.

More than two decades later, we've collected special Florida ornaments - Santa riding a motorcycle next to a palm tree, Christmas alligators, tropical fish.

As we matured, so did our collection of heirloom ornaments. The angel my mom crocheted for our tree topper soon after we were married. The family of bears sewn by my grandmother-in-law and the intricate stocking she made me before she died.

Now also bereft of my father-in-law, we inherited his collection of Chicago Bears ornaments. And the crystal saxophone ornament that belonged to his father.

My favorite is a old, heavy, gold ornament that once doubled as a bottle of Avon bubble bath. It was the gift I gave to one of my grandmothers on MY first Christmas. She gave it to me years before she died, having kept it all these years.

I miss my family alot this time of year. But telling my own daughters the stories behind these ornaments year after year, makes me feel not quite so far away.