Last updated: December 24. 2013 12:14PM
Sandi McBride Contributing Columnist

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I am late putting up the tree this year.

In fact, I am still decorating and probably won’t be finished with the tree until Christmas Eve. There will be tweaking and adjusting to do right up to the minute as I drag out the ornaments, some which go back 40 years and more. Ever wonder how you manage to collect so many things and how you are able to keep them all looking as good as the day you brought them home?

Each ornament holds a memory of a Christmas of another year. I have the wooden ornaments that we used when the boys were small, just big enough to fit into their tiny hands but not glass that would shatter and cut them. These are wooden cars and trains, tiny elfen drivers and engineers aboard the polished oak which we bought in Norfolk, Va. Brass bikes and sleds sit ready to spin around the curves of the Christmas tree much as they did when we first put them on in Fall River, Mass. when Wallace was a baby. I can still see friends Doc and Barb’s big poodle laying by his crib, both sets of eyes watching the brightly colored tree in wonder and joy.

I gingerly handled the Christmas plate with Father Christmas holding the Christmas star high above his head heralding the birth of our Savior. This plate was a gift from our dear friend Bubbles Loxley Green in Beaconsfield (Bucks) England. I have the snowmen from London and the Angels from Charleston. There are ornaments from our first tree after we were married and the ornaments from only a couple of years ago which found their way here as gifts from friends. Oh and here are the nutcracker soldiers from Harrods in London and Mr and Mrs Claus from Colts Neck, N.J. Each ornament is a warm memory of some Christmas in the mists of times gone by.

That is why it is taking so long to get the 10-foot tree decorated. Every ornament must be handled and exclaimed over as it comes out of its wrappings… here is Michael’s favorite ornament, the brass unicycle. He always thought he should be able to ride a unicycle which is why I bought this. Maybe I should let him take it home to put on his own tree and hope it survives another 35 years. Here is the Angel topper I bought because it looked so much like Arianna. And the little Angel shelf sitter with the wild red curls like Anna’s.

Oh look, here are the lighted bells that are now over 45 years old and still play the Carols as well as they did when I put them on my first tree in 1968. Christmas … it is family , it is happiness. The Child is come to save the world and, hopefully, for one day at least, we can have peace on earth.

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