I admit that I'm a bit of a Christmas tree snob. Not toward other people's trees, but with my own. I wish I were one of the sweet moms who let their kids' decorate with all their homemade ornaments, but my mom did this and when I was older, she wanted to give me all those broke down, faded and rotted pieces and I honestly didn't want anything to do with them. Who wants to have their first adult Christmas tree look that pathetic? (painful pause, hoping I haven't offended anyone). I wanted a theme of colors and to have a tree that made a statement that my house was "homey" and "christmas-y" and I have stayed true to this theme with the exception of mild changes for eleven years of marriage. When we did start to have children and they were old enough, I began letting them pick out an ornament each year, but it had to meet these requirements: it had to be somewhat unique and say something about who they are or what they enjoy and so on. I love how their beautiful glass and plastic pieces have added depth to our tree and how each child can pick out exactly which ones are "theirs". I will of course offer them these unique and fun pieces when they are older and are preparing to have their first grown up tree and whatever their decision, I will be happy to pass them on or to keep them, but I wanted my children to know that I DID want our family Christmas tree to hold memories of them. I want my Nate to look back on his glass "pickle" shaped ornament and remember his OBSESSION with pickles as a kid, or Catie's "chocolate cake" ornament and recall how she's always asking for dessert after EVERY meal or Jack's wooden owl and remember all the hours we spent looking up as many details about owl's as we could find for his first school report. Like I said, I love my tree and though I'm picky about what goes on it....It wouldn't be our's without each of those treasures especially picked out by each of my treasures.
PS. For those of you still reeling that I don't allow most homemade ornaments on our tree, I have a special box where I keep many of the special things they make or create during each school year. I'm not completely unsentimental.