A family photo album, every Christmas

December 13, 2011

OVERHEARD IN SPANISH CLASS: “You know how there are all these irregular verbs in Spanish?  They should fix that, you know?

You can tell that Christmas is coming because we have seen on campus several signs of impending holiday:  Students wearing the obligitory “ugly Christmas sweater,” wreaths on faculty houses and in dorms, and Secret Santa games played in advisee groups and in Gehring Hall (full disclosure: I got M&Ms in my mailbox, left by someone in our advisee group).  Everyone is getting into the spirit this week, leading up to the Yule Fest concert this coming Friday night (Students: You MUST stay on campus until the end of the concert, and you should go to the cookie walk afterwards).  Things are rolling towards vacation, and NO ONE CAN STOP IT!!! (I tried one year, and still have the scars to show for it)

The SnowBall is over, we are in the final week of classes before our second break in a month, and one of the most important events of December has just occurred in the Alford house:  The collecting of the annual Christmas tree.

Anyone who knows Mrs. Alford knows these two things:

  • A– She is a Christmas holiday-decorating-fiend, and
  • 2– She has no sense at all of space.

That said, we went and cut a Christmas tree on Sunday.  We have 8-foot ceilings in our living room.  We have an 18-foot Christmas tree.  Now you see how A and 2 intersect.  If there were a magical “hole” in our ceiling, our tree would “magically” extend 9 feet into our daughter Chaia’s bedroom.  Not that it would bother Chaia at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I also LOVE Christmas decorations.  As a Jew that celebrates Christmas every year I find the lights, the music,  the coming together as a family, and the potato pancakes (no, wait, that’s Chanukkah) magnificent.  I see our Christmas tree, scraping the ceiling and weighed down by 250,000 ornaments (I actually counted them one year) as a beautiful family album, marking each year in our lives together.  Each year is marked by ornaments that remind us of  events that we experienced as a family, and we regularly talk about them during dinner (our tree seriously encroaches on the dining room table too).  Right now, hanging over our comatose puppy (peanut butter overload) are several ornaments that mark important moments in the Alford family chronology.  Here are a few:

Guitar ornament

Dad's guitar on the tree

This is an ornament that says “Here Lives a Guitar Hero” (at least to my kids).  They associate this with me.  This is “my ” ornament.


This is not only an ornament, it’s a MAJOR AWARD!!! (my kids have been taught to say this without ever having seen A Christmas Story.  I will correct that this year.)

Before our children were born we gave them “in-utero” nicknames (too much info?).  Ben’s name was “Snowbaby”, so when he was born we got this one.  Doesn’t it look just like him?

"Baby Gecko"

Likewise, pre-natal Chaia was referred to as “Baby Gecko”, hence the “lizard-in-a-basket” ornament.  This is Chaia’s favorite ornament on the tree.  I don’t think it looks like her at all.

2004 saw the addition of puppy “Arrow” to our family.  She’s everything I want in a dog, except she’s part-Shepherd, which makes her think she’s smarter than me.  Ranger knows better.

Since this is my last GLOG until after Christmas break, I would like to wish all of you a happy, safe, magnificent vacation, filled with joy and ornaments (I mean memories).  Maybe in one of my future entries I will try and explain the other 249,995 ornaments on our tree.  If I can find them in Chaia’s room.



4 Responses

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  2. Avatar Kathy Ruby says:

    I have only one question…WHERE did you get the Major Award ornament? (And I’m very glad to hear you’ll be bringing Ben and Chaia into the Christmas Story club this year.)

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