I don’t know when it started.
Sometime when I was a child and my passion for all things equine started to blossom, friends and relatives thought it was a good idea to buy Christmas ornaments for me. This generosity was doubled by the fact that my birthday falls a few days before Christmas. I didn’t mind; it was thoughtful and many of them were beautiful.
When I married, I discovered that Husband 1.0 didn’t come with many holiday accessories. Since it wasn’t fair to monopolize the real estate on the annual tree, I tried to encourage him to develop his own collection so we could have a multi-themed tree! His handful of chickens and the Wienermobile were a half-hearted attempt to break into the decor … but ultimately he resigned himself to the fact that the tree is covered in horses. (It didn’t help that new in-laws found horse ornaments and easy gift!)
I have purchased very few of the hundreds of horses hanging around on my tree. However, each ornament is a special memory for me. I recall the friendships past and present, the joy expressed by my godparents when they watched me open the latest rocking horse from the Hallmark Collector’s series. I recall shopping with my Mom the day after Christmas, getting the best deals on the dated ornaments (how can you pass up 50% or more discounts?!). Whether handmade or purchased, each one is a walk down Memory Lane. There’s a lot of love on that tree.
There are ornaments of all shapes and sizes and materials. Some are beautiful. Some are cute. Some are downright quirky. But, most are as unique as the people who gave them to me.
And then, just in case I didn’t have enough variety, last year the friend of a friend found out I had a ‘horse tree’. She promptly passed on her collection – two large plastic totes FULL. It was time to be discriminating. I kept a few for myself that were different. I kept a bunch to pass on to my nieces (did I mention I started giving them an ornament each Christmas? I’m passing on the tradition. I’m sure their future husbands will be thrilled!). The rest were donated.
Well, all but one. It’s quite possibly one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen: a zebra in an absurd tutu. I can’t bring myself to keep it, but neither can I simply pitch it. I’ve decided to take it to a Christmas party as part of a Dirty Santa exchange … someone’s going home with a great memory!
Merry Christmas all!