Screenshot 20240104 2344532Dec. 24, 2016 - I shared this on Facebook as #Christmasstory #1, by Diane G., a guest storyteller 

Dec. 24, 2014, Diane G.

I was reminded this evening of Jamie's and my first Christmas, 28 years ago.  We had only been married a few weeks when we realized we were COMPLETELY unprepared for Christmas, and also COMPLETELY broke. 

Screenshot 20240104 2344536We splurged and bought an artificial tree at Costco that included lights. He bought a dozen or two shiny apples at the teacher's store where he worked, and I bought a roll of red velvet ribbon.  His mom gave us a bag full of brass sleigh bells. Those apples, bells, and red velvet bows were the only decorations on our tree, aside from the 'First Christmas Together' ornament Karen Smith-Will gave us. It was just the two of us and our tiny tree. 

Many Christmases have come and gone, and God has blessed us abundantly, both financially and with kids, in-laws, grandkids.  But on every tree, every year, you will still find that First Christmas ornament, at least one bell, one bow, and one apple, a treasured memory of that first year together.  
May your Christmas be one this year, in which you create memories that will last a lifetime and become more treasured every year.
Di, for us- that one special ornament came from my friend Suzanne - "our first Christmas" and it will forever hold a special memory to us. Happy 28th Christmas Di and Jamie!
--Kasi, Dec. 24, 2014
Thank you, Kasi! Karen's gift was such a treasure that first year. I don't think she knew how much it meant to us, since we had NOTHING else to put on the tree. :D
--Diane, Dec. 24, 2014
Ahhh...that's so sweet, Di! In those early years we often saw each other near Christmas--miss that! A couple of Christmases later, Angela H. gave us our First Christmas Together ornament. It was a red painted heart with the date on it. It's followed our holidays around for 26 years.
--Karen, Dec. 24, 2014
Screenshot 20240104 2344532I have to tell you something about that ornament, Karen.  Somewhere along the way, with all the military moves and everything else, I got out my decorations one year, and that ornament was GONE.  I searched and searched every box, bawling, barely able to see through the tears because that precious ornament was nowhere to be found. I searched and searched online to find it, Amazon, Ebay, everywhere I could think.  Finally, I found one...ebay, maybe...two little waving teddy bears in a hot air balloon....but I decided maybe it wouldn't be the same, and didn't order it.  On Christmas morning, Jamie gave me one gift that was to be opened first.  It was the ornament...He had gone online to buy it, knowing how disappointed I was not to have it on the tree.  I was so thrilled I put it in it's traditional spot (very front of the tree, 1/3 of the way from the top. :D)  When we took our decorations down, it was carefully tucked away where it couldn't get lost, ready for the next year.  
The next year, when we got out our decorations, lo and behold, the 'new' ornament was where we'd packed it.....but the ORIGINAL ornament was right there in the box with the rest of the ornaments!!  So THIS year, in our beautiful new house, we have two trees, one in the foyer, and one in the family room....and BOTH of them have an adorable 'two teddy bears in a hot air balloon' ornament, front and center, 1/3 of the way from the top.  :D
--Diane, Dec. 24, 2014're bringing tears to my eyes! I had no idea it was so special to you. But you've made my night! It's hard to imagine your going to that much effort to keep up with it. But our family has things just like that, that I look forward to pulling out each year. and I would be heartbroken if they disappeared. If you get a sec, snap a photo of it, because I'd love to see it!
I bought that ornament the year I was the manager of the Christmas Decor department at Millers at Eastgate Mall (Chattanooga), a sister company to Miller and Rhodes. Starting that August, I ate, drank & slept dreaming of Christmas trees and decorations. You would be shocked to know how much of my Christmas decorations I still have date back to that Christmas, including the start of my Dickens Village. Jamie G. often gave me a ride, so I wouldn't have to take the bus back home.
--Karen, Dec. 24, 2014
Mom, the second one was from us kids. Dad told us how sad you were about it & showed us where to get it, but it was our money that paid for it. It was a team effort.
--Sheridan, Dec. 24, 2014
Aacckkk! My eyeballs are leaking...AGAIN!! 😅🎄
--Diane, Dec. 24, 2016
Ornament courtesy of Hallmark, Inc. Šī¸1986