Ditching the Balls


Warning: This post might give you hives if you find comfort in color-coordinated Christmas trees.

Jessi Culyer's Christmas Tree

My family downsized by 1,000 square feet in search of a simpler way of life. 

We filled an entire storage unit while we staged our house and did not miss any of it for four months. I went on a purging spree and donated most of it to West End Thrift, and it was such a relief.

All of our Christmas decorations made the move, however.

I have collected so many different colors of ornaments (red, gold, silver, lime green, and dark green—in matte and glitter) over the years. 95% of those ornaments stay in the boxes collecting dust and taking up space year after year.

So this Christmas, I decided to ditch the color-coordinated ornaments in keeping with simplicity. Clutter distracts us from what is most important.

My mother-in-law started a tradition with her kids, and I absolutely love it.

Every year she purchased an ornament for them and wrote their name and year on it. My husband had a collection of ornaments by the time we started dating. The first year of marriage is stressful enough, so I’m thankful I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to decorate a tree.

I decided to pay it forward and continue this tradition for our kids when our first child was born.

This Christmas will be the second Christmas without my mother-in-law.

I am overwhelmed every year as my husband decorates our tree with tears in his eyes. My husband’s childhood ornaments connect him with a lifetime of memories with his mom. She was taken from us too soon, but her ornament tradition lives on. A simple tradition has become part of her legacy, and I’m proud to carry it on for my family.

I chose a nostalgia theme instead of a color theme this year.

Our tree is beautiful even without the monochromatic balls. 2017 has been a year of self-reflection and growth, about being present over perfect, and trusting the still, small voice inside of me. Our tree symbolizes joy, belonging, gratitude, and most importantly, love. I have strived for this feeling my entire life. It was right in front of me all along.

The collection of wooden decorations from my childhood, the eclectic collection from my husband’s childhood, my children’s growing collection, and our annual family picture ornament makes for a tree full of love.

I bet our Christmas tree will not make it in a catalog for Better Homes & Gardens or Southern Living, but it’s perfectly imperfect for us.

No matter how your tree is decorated, I hope yours brings you joy this season.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.

Photography by: Amy Robinson Photography www.amyrobinsonphoto.com