Some of my friends have these amazing Christmas trees. I'm talking the kind that you'd see in a Martha Stewart, Better Homes and Gardens, or House Beautiful magazine, complete with the coordinating ornaments and fancy ribbons. And while I admire those beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and sometimes even plan on "doing it that way next year", the truth is this: I don't think I could ever give up all the handmade ornaments and personalized decorations that we have on our tree every year.
I have nine children, and each one has made many ornaments over the years, and each special piece deserves a spot on our Christmas tree. Always. They will never be "bumped" for something more fancy. And we just can't get a tree that is big enough to fit all of our children's ornaments and the fancy stuff, so each year I have a "kid" Christmas tree, and each year I am very pleased with it.
Every child has their own "Baby's First Christmas" ornament, and some children have the famous "hand print" ornament, while others have special ones that were made just for them. These alone take up about half of the tree! Even I have my special ones, like the "Mom To Be" ornament, given to me back when I was expecting my first child.
Every year I also get an ornament made for our family, with all of our names on it. Rich's mom used to do this for us, too, so the collection we have of these personalized name ornaments takes up about 1/4 of the tree.
Aria was the one chosen to put the angel up on top of the tree. Of course she needed to stand on daddy's shoulders to do it.
She really got into the decorating this year. Last year at the age of two, she didn't quite know what was going on. But this year my three year old knew exactly what to do, and she sure hung her share of ornaments. And then some!
The three older kids sat back this year and let the younger ones decorate. Audriana handed the ornaments to the kids, and Afton took the pictures. Tony sat waaaaay back -- at work. He had to work on the only night Rich would be home, so he graciously gave up the tree decorating this year. I saved all of his personal ornaments for him to hang on the tree when he got home. Everyone has to put their own ornaments on the tree. That's our tradition.
I also let my kids hang all the ornaments on the tree themselves. And I do not rearrange to space them out better. I want my kids to know that whatever spot they chose on the tree was THE PERFECT SPOT. After all, their little feelings are much more important than the Christmas tree's!
In the end, our tree always comes out perfectly decorated. Better Homes & Garden worthy? Probably not. But it makes my heart happy, and the hearts of my children, and that's what it should be all about!