Part of our New Year’s Eve involved packing up the holiday treasures and decorations. As we only had a very small artificial tree this year due to location, I had to be highly selective about which decorations I used. I didn’t go for fancy or beautiful or the most expensive, I chose the photo ornaments the kids painted each year when they were little and the ones they selected each year that hold memories (like the monkey ornament that’s missing a foot because of my youngest, who selected it while shopping at Cost Plus Market, thought the foot of said monkey tasted great!).
I also brought the Star of David tree topper that I made out of cardboard, tinfoil, a chopstick and some ribbon the first year in our new home to honor my traditions as well as my husband’s. It was meant to be a temporary fix until we could find or make a better one, but now, 18 years later, we tenderly keep this homemade tree topper alive for another year…and hopefully another after that. It is a holiday treasure. When I asked my boys if we should bring the tree topper this year due to its fragile state, they exclaimed, “Of course!” As if the idea of NOT having it was blasphemy! This is how ordinary stuff becomes a treasure. And the holiday treasures are the only things that made the journey with us this year.
Our year abroad taught us a lot about treasures and meaning and the insignificance of stuff. I’m deeply grateful on this New Year’s morning for the lessons we gained that year and which continue to inform our family life. Spending NYE last night with our boys, talking, reflecting, and collectively as well as personally looking to our new year, set my heart and my family on firm ground for this new year. I’m not sure we would have done it, nor that our teenagers would have complied if not for the year we spent somewhat trapped together and learning that organic and forced family time nourishes all our souls.
May the new year bring your family nourishing time together as well as nourishing time for each individual independently. At least for me, the two feed one another and make the other richer as a result of the pairing. And may you find and make treasures–from stuff embedded with meaning and treasured moments captured in memories forever.