Earlier this year my brother and I went through all my late parents Christmas boxes that were stored in an outside shed. I was seeking 2 ornaments I had made 44 years ago in Kindergarten: a white snowman and a yellow angel, both made of salt dough and glitter. My brother knew I was pretty upset that we’d found pretty much everything from all 10 grandkids and from my 4 siblings, but not these 2 ornaments. Then in the very far reaches of the shed, he found a box that was bedraggled, torn, and obviously soaking wet at one point. As I opened it, my heart sank. Inside was a heap, a mound, a mess of older ornaments, cards, and at the very bottom a blob of white and yellow salt dough with glitter.
Why did I want them so badly that it made me sad and angry when I found them in that state? Why were they so important that I cried on the way home clutching a baggie of soggy salt dough? It’s the memory attached to them. Memories of making it, bringing it home and seeing Mom’s happy face, and hanging it on the tree every year. It had absolutely no value, with the exception of the thoughts of hanging them on my own tree and telling my child about them.
Things do not have to be expensive or fancy to have value. Sometimes the very things with no value are the most precious because it’s the memory we can’t replace once it’s gone. When someone loses everything in a flood or fire, it’s easy to just say “We’ll help you get a new one”. I now understand that look of frustration and pain that crosses their faces. Some things are truly irreplaceable because it is not the “thing”, but rather the love and joy it brought to that person when they saw it or held it.
So, I’ve decided to buy a snowman and an angel ornament this year and hang them on our tree. I won’t tell anyone why, and to anyone who asks-BEWARE-I will bore you with reminiscing! And for those of you who have lost those irreplaceable, priceless artifacts I pray that you are able to find a picture, or something else that eases the loss of your keepsake, and during the upcoming Holiday season may you all make or receive new things to treasure!