Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Lesson of The Frame of Broken Ornaments

A few years ago we had a tree incident and Wade almost ruined Christmas.  

When Wade was a toddler, he climbed up the Christmas tree like a cat.  The Christmas tree came crashing down.  Wade crawled out from under the wreckage a little dazed and confused and with a few scratches, but mostly okay.  Many of our ornaments? Mostly not so okay. 

Lucy and JT cried because the tree was on the ground and bits and pieces of their favorite ornaments were everywhere.  I was yelling for no one to move because I was afraid someone would step on a sharp ornament bit and cut themselves.  Wade had already moved on to climbing up on top of tables.  He was a very busy toddler.

"Well, Christmas is ruined," Peyton said quietly under his breath.

I wanted to agree with him but knew that wasn't the good parent thing to do.  "No, no it's not," I replied through my own frustrated why can't anything go right tears.  "We are going to pick this up and put everything back together."

So we swept up the broken bits.  Tim tied a rope around the tree and anchored it to the wall, attempting to Wade-proof it. I turned up the Christmas music and made cookies while we cleaned up.

"What are we going to do with all the old ornament pieces," Lucy asked.  

"Throw them out I guess," I shrugged trying to not get too sentimental and sad.

Her eyes got big, like Cindy Lou Who big, and she smiled, "I know what we can do.  We can make a craft with them!"

So we did.  We glued the bits and pieces of old ornaments onto a wooden picture frame.  We put the picture of the kids and their cousins with Santa that we had taken a few weeks earlier inside the frame. It turned out beautifully.

Every year since the tree incident of 2011, I display the frame of broken ornaments with the other Christmas decorations.  The frame represents the true meaning of Christmas to me, and maybe even life.  Life/Christmas isn't about perfection. It is about the ability to turn the bad into good, seeing the beauty in the brokenness, paying attention to the simple wisdom/joy/hope of children, and not staying devastated when it, whatever it is (Christmas/life/jobs/relationships), feels ruined, and having a really good sense of humor.  It's about picking up the pieces and putting everything back together.   

Every year, I set out the picture frame and we tell the story of the tree incident of 2011 and how Wade almost ruined Christmas.  And we laugh and laugh and remember there is beauty in the broken bits and pieces, of Christmas and life.


  1. Oh Angela, this is perfect. That frame is perfect. This IS what it is all about. And little Wade, OMG. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  2. That is so awesome. Of course you did that! How perfect.

  3. They are at their best age of learning, let them learn.
    airport parking stansted