A tradition I love in my aunt’s house and a book that might spark one in yours


December 7, 2015 by Terumi

homemade christmas ornament

Snowflakes have come along way since I was little.  I remember when I first learned that there were sites that have snowflake patterns so I didn’t end up with my usual square with little holes cut out.  This year I’m excited to make paper Star Wars snowflakes with my guys and I’m so thankful people out there are creative enough to come up with patterns. They are a bit intricate, but the guys are getting better at cutting with scissors, so I’ll let you know how these go with 7-year-olds when we have a finished product.

I remember being into paper crafting even when I was little and my dear Auntie Sally reminded me that when she sent me her post for my advent calendar project.  I remember cutting out a star out of paper and covering it with tinfoil and tinsel for her tree.  I thought I’d made the greatest thing ever and I’m so lucky that she loved me enough to put it on her tree for so many years.  My Auntie Sally’s house has always felt warm and inviting and we loved going to visit with her family at Christmas for brunch and munching on my Uncle Brian’s delicious waffles and devouring her baked brie and cheesy potatoes.  I love her beautiful tree and all the memories on it and I love that she has two boys just like me. Her post about her Christmas tree tradition makes me think about all the memories I’m making with my own family and it makes me happy that one day, I’ll have a tree full of moments to remember too.

Christmas tree tradition from Auntie Sally

Some houses have the most beautiful, ornate, themed trees­- on some days my Pinterest heart longs for one of those trees with wispy angels bearing filigree wings and matching frosted white ornaments… In my wildest dreams, I highly doubt that our family tree will ever be featured in any magazine or post! Our tree is a mishmash of Christmases past, but truly a symbol of all that we wish for at Christmas time and always. It is a collection of cherished family memories. As long as I can remember our family has had a Christmas tree. As I set up our tree I can’t help but think of my own parents, new immigrants from a country so unfamiliar with Christianity, yet embracing the universal message of love and hope and peace. My ninety year old father (almost ninety­one) still sets up his Charlie Brown tree with the traditional lights and gold caterpillar like garlands in anticipation of the visit from his great grandchildren. I remember our first tree as a couple in our first home, decorated with newly purchased red, green, and gold baubles, that ubiquitous silver tinsel, and topped with a very large foil covered, garland trimmed cardboard star, made by our then three year old niece. That star proudly adorned our tree top for many years, eventually joined by popsicle stick reindeer, pine cone Rudolphs, cinnamon stick Santas, and a clothes peg angel with a crooked pipe cleaner halo, all lovingly created by little fingers. Don’t get me wrong, as I also have some truly exquisite ornaments –a hand painted glass ball from Mexico, a leaded glass angel, antique crystal snowflakes, gifts from special people in our lives. But the one eyed, three legged pine cone Rudolph, made at school by one of our sons never fails to warm my heart. Our all time favourite is still the “too much glue” Santa made from now faded red construction paper. The copious amounts of glue had run down Santa’s face and dried, giving him a rather sad demeanor. We are not certain who made it for Santa but it is signed by both my boys in large primary printing! Yes, like everyone else we have also had those Christmas tree disasters ­ the root ball that was too big for any container, the lopsided tree that would not respond to any pruning, our first artificial tree that shed branches each year, and the one that toppled over, smashing some beloved ornaments. They are all a part of our Christmas memories, reminding us about what is truly important, and to always live fully and love deeply all year round. This year, as I decorate my tree again with Ruthie Mae, my cat, I can’t help but think, “My tree is truly beautiful!

Thank you Auntie Sally! This is such a beautiful tradition and I love Christmas for all the special moments and activities that seem so worth the extra effort at this time of year.  A few years ago, my kids learned about “Reinder Dust” from one of their preschool teachers and we had a plastic bag full of it and sprinkled it on my parent’s lawn at night in hopes of helping Santa’s reindeer find their way.  I recently received a book about the tradition by a lovely twin mom Kate Dwyer, called “Reindeer Dust” and my kids and I had a great time reading it and talking about how we would do make this again this year.

Reindeer Dust book by Kate Dwyer a mom of twins

Do you have a special holiday tradition that you look forward to every year?  It’s amazing how many we forget over the years and the new ones that we start.  I’d love to hear about how you celebrate in your house!  Happy Monday!

(PS. I did receive a copy of Reindeer Dust for review, but the thoughts and opinions above are my own.)
(PPS. I bought my clear ornaments in Seattle at a Party Display and Costume.  It’s an amazing party store near Northgate Mall.)




  1. It is an amazing kindness to pass on memories that warm the heart for years to come…In my tougher moments those are the special thoughts I pull out to get me through.

  2. majl says:

    This is such a beautiful project you’re doing… LOVE these Christmas stories. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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