Back when I was in elementary school one of our assignments was to seal up a shoebox ‘time capsule’ with duct tape and then pinky promise not to open it up again until the year we graduated from high school. For me, that would have been the year 2000. In my young mind I envisioned finally tearing that box open while flying around in my own personal space ship, because absolutely nothing sounded more futuristic to me than saying “the year two thousand” out loud. I did not end up opening it in a space ship, however, because I tore back into it again only a couple of years after I created it. I tried so hard, y’all. I am a rule follower deep down to my very core! I even tried hiding my time capsule shoe box way up on the tippy top closet shelf underneath all of my unwanted clothes and Halloween costumes. I thought that if it was out of my sight, it would be out of my mind. NOT SO. It called to me at night like the tell-tale heart. I always knew it was there. I would take it out every few days just to shake it. It didn’t ever stand a chance. I remember vividly the feeling of defeat hanging over my head as I looked through the contents of that box… a toy scorpion, a picture of me in my favorite hyper-color gecko shirt and a piece of paper proclaiming to the world that my favorite color was green. Riveting stuff, I tell you! I had robbed the future of such treasure! Ha ha.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of time capsules, and I think this is one of the main reasons why I adore Christmas. It’s like getting to open a time capsule every single year—totally guilt free! Every single year on the day after Thanksgiving, we get to crawl up into the attic, blow a year’s worth of dust off all the Christmas boxes and totes, and travel back in time. It’s magic. Most of my favorite childhood Christmas memories revolve around the ornament box, where we would dig out our collection of hand crafted trinkets and place them gingerly on the tree year after year. Every single time it felt brand new, and it still does to this day as I watch my own kids repeat the tradition. Maybe it is just me and my short-term memory loss, but it still feels like I’m seeing the decorations and ornaments for the first time, every time. Like seeing old friends after far too long.
Our tree is much more Charlie Brown than Martha Stewart. Nothing matches. It kind of looks like it was an innocent bystander when the Christmas isle at Michaels spontaneously combusted. But I wouldn’t trade a single branch of it for the world. It’s ours. It’s unlike any other tree in the whole wide world! It’s unique and heavy with our memories. I plan to hang onto every single knickknack and doodad for as long as I’m able. Someday, when my boys are grown and have Christmas trees of their own, I’d love to give them their own shoe box time capsules—full of the things their hands made when they were small and the future seemed impossibly far away.