By Charmin Foth
After two weeks of having my tree up with only lights on it, I have finally gone into the depths of the root cellar of this old house to carefully pull out the foot locker full of ornaments to adorn my tree.
The day after Thanksgiving marked the 26th Annual Fantasy of Trees, a fundraiser for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. It is a veritable winter wonderland of all things Christmas, especially the trees. With over 300 trees beautifully decorated by companies and designers from all over Knoxville up for adoption, it is enough to give any one tree envy. There are so many beautiful trees decorated with themes, and color coordinated to match any decor.
I know why they call it Fantasy of Trees. Every year I think, “Oh, look at that one, I would love that tree,” or, “Wouldn’t that be beautiful in our living room?”
But when I go home and start to set up the tree and begin to pull out all of my ornaments I look at my tree in a whole new light. My Christmas tree becomes a portal into the past. Each decoration reminds me of something or someone special.
I have photo ornaments of the first years of my relationship with my husband. When I hang those on the tree I remember the excitement of our relationship as it was just beginning to bud into something amazing.
I have ornaments from when we were stationed in Germany for three years, and all the places I had the opportunity to travel during that time. I have one of the bridge houses in Bad Kreuznach where we lived, one for each year we were there.
I have tiny wooden shoes from Holland, hand painted pottery bells from Poland, hand painted, hand blown glass ornaments from the Czech Republic, a tiny Eiffel Tower from Paris, France and a little 2000 from being there for the Millennium fireworks in Paris on New Year’s Eve. I have a miniature coo-coo clock from the Black Forest in Germany.
I also have ornaments from friends and they remind me that friends are precious things, never to be forgotten.
So I may not have the designer, color coordinated tree, with all the fancy matching ornaments and the perfect angel on top. My tree may not be a shining artistic example but I have a colorful kaleidescope of memories, carefully hung on branches amid twinkling lights that I would not trade for all the designer trees out there.
Each ornament has a memory that takes me back in time, and gives me the opportunity to reflect and give thanks for the blessings that have passed through my life so far.
I can’t wait to see what new memory I’ll hang on the tree next year.