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Christmas Eve, late at night, my husband Paul and I pour a glass of wine, sit on the floor by our fragrant pine, the room lit only by the tree's soft lights.
Our Christmas tree is decked with love and memories, and on this particular night, we reminisce. There's a tiny red-and-white striped stocking, yellowed over the years, that I bought the year my first son was born. (Paul wasn't a part of my life then; we married when my youngest son was in high school, but they are like his own and he's a beloved stepfather and step-grandfather.) A "God's Eye" made of Popsicle sticks woven with yarn nestles in the branches, a gift made by our first grandson, his initials on the back,written in crayon. Picture-frame ornaments with photos of other grandchildren, when they were small, evoke tender memories. A smiling ice cream cone, a gift from my daughter and her husband, marks the sale of my first published children's book, Ice Cream for Breakfast. A china bell with shamrocks, brought from Ireland, and a gold cross from Rome, are mementos from my youngest son and his wife's travels.
Paul's and my trips are noted too, and there are decorations given to us by his brother and sister, and mine, and my favorite cousin. Beaded candy canes and wreaths were made by an aunt that's deceased. And the lights that bubble around the bottom of our Christmas tree were purchased only a few years ago, but reminders of Paul's childhood, they still intrigue little ones. The quilted tree skirt, hidden by piles of gifts before our family opening, bears a large green S on a background of red and white—a treasured gift made by our daughter-in-law. Our middle son and his wife gave us appropriate ornaments for our interests, a golf club for my husband and a book for me.Betty Jo Schuler and her husband moved to Florida four years ago. They sold their house and furniture but among the things they brought along was a large red plastic box filled with their Christmas tree ornaments. They started over with new furnishings and bought an artificial tree their first Christmas in the Sunshine State, but they missed the real pine and needed a bigger one to hold all their ornaments and memories. The author of twenty-two books, Betty Jo writes for children, teens, and adults. A former elementary teacher, she an instructor for Writers Digest University online classes. Her latest books are Mystic Mansion, How Not to Date a Hollywood Star and No Rain, No Rainbows, all middle grade YA and published by Books We Love Publishing Partners. Visit her website at http://bettyjowrites.com/ or her page at http://www.bookswelove.net/