A few weeks ago I wrestled the Christmas decoration boxes down from their newfound perch in our storage shed. It was a crisp and clear fall day. The sky was a brilliant blue, the air chilly but the sun was warm. It took me three trips back and forth into the house to get everything inside. Lastly, our artificial tree still in its original box from purchase. After several seasons the tree sort of haphazardly resided in the box – mostly stuffed in askew, contained in large part due to the odd cable my husband had wrapped around it to create a carrying handle.
We purchased that tree the year we got married. We had a gift card and a 20% coupon to the almighty Bed Bath & Beyond. It was pre-lit with white twinkly lights and had various pine cones and sticks glued onto the branches. In a word, it was ugly. But we were thrilled. As newlyweds we had very little expendable income, and we walked out of the store that night with our tree and a box of plastic multicolored ornaments for $12. We excitedly drove home, our shoppers-high in full effect from getting such a steal of a deal. We immediately assembled and decorated the tree, our first as husband and wife.
Once adorned the tree transformed. It was no longer wispy and sparse. The tree proudly glowed from its perch in our small living room, and all at once our home felt warm and cozy and magical. As we admired our work I told my husband I wanted to start a new tradition. Each Christmas I wanted to add a new keepsake ornament to our little tree. Something to commemorate the year, that we could build over our time as our family grew. That year it would be a simple handmade circle, etched with The Murphy Family 2012 – Our First Christmas as Mr. & Mrs.
On Christmas Day that year, we told our families that we were pregnant with our first Son. I immediately viewed the Nativity and Mary in a brand new light. Christmas would never be the same once having children. Nothing is ever the same, truthfully. And each year we’ve added a new unique ornament to our bargain tree. A First Christmas for each of our Sons. And this year, a new memory to mark in time.
This will be our first Christmas in our new home. In our new town. In our new state. A year ago this was a dream. 2 years ago it was a conversation. 3 years ago it wasn’t even a thought. How did we get here?
I’m often asked, why did you come here? What made you choose Flagstaff? And after almost 6 months I still don’t have it wrapped into a cute little answer – but most of the time I reply, we just wanted to do it. It’s with wide eyes starting back at me that I elaborate – We wanted more and less of everything at the same time.