If you celebrate Christmas, what does your Christmas tree look like? Is it color-coordinated with the same type of ornament? Is it hung with homemade ornaments? Personally, I think what your tree looks like depends on the kind of person you are. My family’s tree is a mix of just about everything, but it really represents the military life we have led. With ornaments we’ve collected at each duty station, ornaments from museums in Europe while living in Germany, my parent's ornaments when they were kids, and just about every White House ornament starting from 1997. I think that my Christmas tree sums up the military-kid life perfectly. Here are just a few of my favorite ornaments…
This ornament is an ice princess! My grandparents got me this while they visited us in Germany. They went to a German Christmas market, which are very big in Germany around the holidays. Streets are usually lined with vendors selling Glühwein, a traditional German drink that's basically mulled wine, and kid-friendly versions. I don’t have a very specific reason to like this ornament, it’s just been my favorite since I was a kid.
This ornament marks our first forever home here in Virginia. This was the first ever house my parents owned after moving at least more than ten times. This is a very special ornament for our family and means something important to us. It symbolizes the place where we've finally placed roots.
This ornament is the official crest of the Air Force, the service my dad served for 28 years. The Air Force brought us forever friends and family. It allowed us to experience and travel to places that we probably never would have seen if it wasn’t for the Air Force. Even after seven moves, I still find comfort in knowing the Air Force will always be an area of identification and love for my family and me.
This ornament is another souvenir from yet another German Christmas market. It was handcrafted by a local craftsman. There's a string connected to the body of the girl and when you pull it, its arms and legs move! This is just another childhood favorite because of its special feature. It will always remind me of the amazing culture of German markets.
This ornament we got at an all-year-long Christmas store in Rothenburg, Germany while visiting our American friends who had been stationed nearby. Rothenburg was one of my favorite places in Germany because of its beautiful colored buildings. Rothenburg reminds me of good times with friends.
This ornament is a personalized ornament of my brother and me. My parents got this when I was born. It recreates a picture my parents once took of my older brother holding me as a baby when I had just returned from the hospital. This has been my favorite ornament even when I was little.
My family and I got this ornament while traveling in The Netherlands. It was hand-painted by a Dutch crafter. The porcelain is painted with a windmill in a tulip field. It reminds me of how beautiful Amsterdam was, and how lucky I was to be able to travel there.
To finish it off, another dutch ornament. This is a self-portrait of Van Gogh, one of my favorite artists. Van Gogh’s paintings are so well done and carefully brought to life. We bought this ornament at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. My brother and I were forced to endure the complete museum at ages 7 and 8 (one of my greatest accomplishments).
All in all, Christmas trees can be so personal, especially to military kids. Breaking out the Christmas tree always brings up heavy emotions and nostalgia. Whether your tree is lined with coordinating decor or you just stuff all your personal ornaments on, like my family, a Christmas tree means something to you and your family no matter what it is. So spend this time with your families and cherish the moments you have with one another. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season and spend time doing things you love. Happy holidays!