“Every man’s memory is his private literature.” Aldous Huxley
Seeing the tiny elves again drew a smile on my face. I’m not even sure of the memory I associate with it because it has grown in size. I don’t know where to start thinking back. With the ornament in my hand, I embrace feelings of hope, joy, and warmth.
A box of Christmas ornaments holds more than decorative pieces. As we hang each one, a plethora of memories flow through our heads. The associations are likely different for each person.
Recently, my children shared how they hung ornaments for their grandmother. The tree was completely weighed down, yet the memories behind the ornaments were important to her. None could be left in the box.
Today, we will begin taking down the tree. We’ll keep the ornaments safely in their places. What sorts of inspiration will they provide for our new year?
Family – Some ornaments remind me of my family and of the close connections we shared. It reminds me of simple times when we ate cornbread, cream potatoes, and sat together at the table. Like an ornament, we choose which memories are best to keep and which ones are best to throw away.
Friends – We came across an ornament of our first year of marriage given to us by a special friend. It reminded me of a different period of life. How exciting that time when we were working and learning to love each other daily. We had another set of friends then. We are still connected with many of these friends. It made the difficult times easy to forget.
Hopes – Sometimes ornaments remind us of a hope we have lost. Perhaps we’ve lost the joy that we once held daily. Ornaments can trigger a memory that can help us change our present. Bringing back the hope into our lives can be a gift in disguise.
Dreams – As time moves onward, we often abandon dreams which were either foolish or forgotten. With each ornament, the dreams we wish to shine up and pursue again can be a treasured challenge. We can also realize our need to abandon a dream for something even better. Age and wisdom can help us know which to keep and which to discard.
If these ornaments connect our past and present, they are meaningful. Yet, if we allow an associated memory to propel our future, then we have captured their great value.
What ornament holds special meaning for you?