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Editor's note.

Does an oversized aluminum Hershey's kiss have any inherent value? How about a tattered velvet-covered Santa Claus, a used-up MetroCard from the New York subway, or a slightly misshapen wreath made from red and green interlocking plastic beads? Maybe not to most people, but for me each one is an irreplaceable treasure.

When, as newlyweds, my husband and I picked out our first Christmas tree seven years ago, we quickly realized that we had very little with which to fill its branches. But rather than rush out to find dozens of store-bought ornaments all at once, we simply used a couple of boxes of basic shiny balls, several strands of colored lights, and plenty of ribbon garlands to hide the empty spaces between our few personal mementos.

As the years have passed, we have found the answers to the naked tree problem in some unexpected places. Cheering on the home team at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago three summers ago, we scored a win in the form of a Cubs baseball ornament--even though the team came up a loser. At a horse race in Far Hills, New Jersey, we found an ornament in the style of a properly dressed steeplechase rider. A former coworker made a cotton ball angel for me, and a new friend gave us a glazed clay ornament shaped like the state of Mississippi.

Our parents have also helped out by sharing some special ornaments from decades ago. A golden angel engraved with my name matches another one given to my sister when we were very small. A wooden airplane symbolizes the love of aviation my husband, a third-generation licensed pilot, has had since he was old enough to climb into a cockpit. And one that always gets a laugh when we pull it out of the box is a blob-shaped "stained glass" ornament that my husband and his sister made by baking a plastic cup with Mardi Gras beads inside.

Thinking back now, it's almost hard to believe that finding enough ornaments to fill the Frasier fir was ever a problem. The branches of our trees these days struggle to support all the memories they now hold. That goofy candy Kiss is a passport back in time to a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the Amish country. Hanging from an unfolded paper clip, the MetroCard still holds full fare to flashbacks of our days living in Manhattan as a newly married couple. The old Santa and the plastic wreath are reminders of an old revolving music box and a Sunday school craft project from my childhood. A decorator may not say this color scheme works or these pieces really go together, but I wouldn't trade a single one of these unlikely treasures for anything.

As we celebrate this happy and holy season in this issue and throughout the months to come, I wish you all the joys of a tree filled with your own precious memories.
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Author:Bozeman, Kelli L.
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:490
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