Collecting Christmas ornaments is something Cindy and I started since we began dating in 2009. Every place we lived or visited, we bought an ornament or two to remember being there. Cindy's memory is clearer than mine is, however.
The first ornament we collected was from a 10K we ran in San Ramon, the Bah Humbug 10K, and the first of many races we ran together in California, Oklahoma and Illinois.
When we started dating, Cindy worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and made annual trips to Albuquerque. She bought this handcrafted angel in the fall of 2009.
In subsequent years, we picked up other ornaments from Santa Fe and Taos, the famous havens for artists like Georgie O’Keefe and tourists looking for New Mexico’s magic. In Taos, we snowshoed - a wonderful experience.
Cindy and I married in August 2010. We honeymooned in Alaska. These two ornaments are from that trip.
In June 2011, Cindy met my extended family in Pennsylvania. As my cousin proudly proclaims, “We put the fun in dysfunctional!” A side trip to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake including visits to wineries where we tasted ice wines completed the trip.
In November 2011, we moved to Oklahoma, where we lived for three years. While there, we purchased a home, as well as some ornaments. The first one is the state of Oklahoma, which is the home of Cindy’s mother.
Cindy’s ancestry includes the Chickasaw Nation, one of five Indian Nations within Oklahoma. While living in Oklahoma, we visited the amazing Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, where we purchased this handmade ornament depicting their cultural heritage.
I worked at World Neighbors for two years. Each year, we held an international market fair featuring items from the countries where we had a presence. We bought this pear-shaped ornament.
During that time, we lost our beloved Golden Retriever, Lindsay. Before we moved, we took ownership of another Golden, Travis. This ornament expresses our love of Goldens.
In December 2012, we vacationed for a few days in Branson, where we picked up this ornament.
From Oklahoma, we moved to southern Illinois. While there, we visited St. Louis with family and friends. The two main attractions in St. Louis are the Arch and the Budweiser, depicted by these two ornaments.
Nashville, IL is a five-hour drive to Graceland in Memphis, TN, home of Elvis Presley. Elvis bought Graceland in 1957, the year I was born, for his family. Graceland is today as it was when Elvis lived there.
When we moved to Chicagoland, we celebrated our fifth anniversary. To commemorate this, Cindy found a splendid ornament of lovey doveys.
Poles heavily populate Chicagoland. There are Polish restaurants, delis, radio and TV broadcasts and a museum. We purchased two ornaments displaying my heritage.
In January, we celebrated five years of marriage with a cruise through the Hawaiian Islands. We picked up these to remember our trip.
Finally, we hang this ornament because we live in the Steeler Nation and are fans of the greatest football franchise in the world, The Pittsburgh Steelers.
What Christmas traditions have you incorporated into your marriage? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!