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The puppy ornament you see in this photograph is one my toddler son, David, made as his Christmas present to me when he was two years old. 

The years have passed  way too quickly and David has graduated from making ornaments to college and law school. He has a wife and two beautiful children. 

But each year as I hang this puppy on the Christmas tree, the clock spins backwards and I see him again. A little boy and the margarine container lid he rolled in green glitter. The proud look on his face as he handed it to me on Christmas morning. Like a good mom, I smiled, hugged him and hung it on the tree. I didn't realize then how much it would come to mean. This puppy has hung on my tree for forty years. It has come to represent what matters most to me about Christmas.

Don't get me wrong. I admire beautiful trees with matching golden, blue or red balls--I love the symmetry and perfection. But that puppy ornament changed everything for me. And now my tree is about preserving the memories. Each year as I hang ornaments I've made, often utilizing photos, I remember the past and the people I loved and still do.  The little girl with the heart sticker on her cheek is my granddaughter, Shenoa. She is thirteen now, but the memory of the three-year-old who pasted stickers on both our faces lives on and makes me smile again each year. 

I watched my children and now my grandchildren grow up in the glass ornaments where I have preserved them. The ornaments aren't perfect. Maybe they aren't beautiful to anyone except me, but they capture a moment. We lose our moments so easily as life slips by. We forget what we should hold most dear. 

Each year as I decorate the tree, I remember my birth family--most of whom are now dead. I rejoice in my children and grandchildren. And the process makes me believe in a future where little boys and girls will make puppy ornaments for their moms. If you have one, don't let it go. 

So what does this have to do with writing?  I'm not sure.  Maybe nothing. But if a photo speaks a thousand words, let yours speak to you. Don't hide them in drawers. Preserve your memories. Maybe hang them on your tree. In the end, these precious memories might be everything.  What do you think? 

May you find peace, happiness and joy in the little things this holiday season. 



12/08/2013 7:59am

I am enjoying the memory of the ornament you just made me of me and my mom. It hangs beautifully, direct in my view from our couch. Thankful for the memories.

05/19/2016 7:52am

They say that it’s better to enjoy the moment than to take a pictures of it but I beg to disagree. I’m a type of person who hoards a memory, every events of my life I took pictures of it. Whenever I see these photos of mine and my loved ones, it brought me the memories we have had in that pictures. I think that taking photos of every events in our lives is important because it’s like reliving that moments whenever we wanted to. And even if they are not around, we can still get to see their smiles just by simply looking at the pictures. In my 18 years of existence, I have a tons of albums of my life events and whenever that life seems to be blurry and cruel to me, the only escape that I have against the reality is just by merely looking on it (albums) one by one. Preserving memories is a good thing to do especially in this world that forgets easily.

Martha Miller
12/08/2013 10:12am

As always, your post brought tears to my eyes. You really know how to string words together. Don't ever stop!

12/08/2013 11:46am

Love this. I have ornaments that mean something. A favorite is one Ally and Andie picked out when we went to an aquarium (a penguin)

Linda Wilkinson
12/08/2013 1:42pm

It is the single most important decorating moment for my Christmas every year. I love reliving each one that has meaning to me. Just like you always do you remind us all how important it is to capture every memory we can. I so love you my talented amazing writer cousin/sister of the heart

Anne Stabile
12/08/2013 11:25pm

I was decorating my tree today and recalling memories as I hung each ornament. My 24-year-old daughter is coming home after 5 years on the east coas. It will be nice to have my family on one coast again. I came across a photo of her in preschool in a gold painted frame with spiral macaroni glued to it. Then I realized it was taken 20 years ago! Thanks for sharing your memories and your writing. Both are beautiful!

Jane Sutherland
12/10/2013 4:28pm

Loved your thoughts. Photos are one of major ways we can preserve memories. So much comes back when we look at a photo taken long ago.


Preserving the memories are sacred and holy treasure of the life. It is done and implemented with the impact and consequence of the times. The memories are soft image and wealth of life. It is relished.

03/18/2016 4:18pm

One of those 70’s songs that seem to remind me of our respective memories with our spouses and kids is Take a Pebble by Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer with the following lyrics:

“Just take a pebble and cast it to the sea,
Then watch the ripples that unfold into me,
My face spill so gently into your eyes,
Disturbing the waters of our lives.

Shreds of our memories are lying on your grass;
Wounded words of laughter are graveyards of the past.
Photographs are grey and torn, scattered in your fields
Letters of your memories are not real.

Sadness on your shoulders like a worn out overcoat
In pockets creased and tattered hang the rags of your hope.
The daybreak is your midnight; the colors have all died.
Disturbing the waters of our lives, of our lives, of our lives, lives,
Lives, lives...
Of our lives.”

To the seemingly crazy brunette with the racehorse legs in the public park doing Tai Chai with a seascape painter’s borrowed Samurai sword in hand whilst swaying to the sounds of “Dust in Wind” on her new boom-box, my favorite writer, Haruki Murakami, in Norwegian Wood, would have written: “Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn't give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. It was the age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. The scenery was the last thing on my mind.”

An aging Haruki Murakami, in his novella, Dance Dance Dance, will later come to affirm the importance of scenery and the memorable fact that: “Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.” These thoughts all contribute to some of the best memories of a holiday season, even for desert dwellers.

08/25/2016 11:12pm

Yeah, these memories are prescious. It was a pleasure to read this post. Thank you so much for it.


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