Christmas Tree Traditions


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When Robby and I got married, we found the best gift in the attic: an old Christmas tree with all the decorations!

We spent all day pulling out the tree and bags and boxes full of lights and ornaments. Many of the decorations were lovingly homemade and – since the house was built in 1939 – were older than I was. Unfortunately, some of the bags had gotten buggy, but we were able to salvage most of it.

The tree was small, but we learned that it fits perfectly on top of its storage container, which actually looks pretty nice with a tree skirt around it. It also gives us plenty of room to put a few presents under it. There was even an old train car, which we put out every year. We liked the old school lights, but we eventually replaced them with similar ones that are newer and safer.

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We still love our old tree. More than anything, we appreciate the connection it gives us to the past and the family that carefully decorated it long before us.

New Traditions

Our river otter

Although we’re just a few miles from the capital, our lot is surrounded by trees and is close to a low-lying swampy area, which makes it seem like we’re out in the country. The local wildlife agree, so we see more animals in our yard than we would expect in the city. We’ve even named our yard “Jones Park.”

A couple years ago, I had the idea of a Jones Park Christmas Tree. In addition to the usual lights and colored balls, it would feature ornaments of creatures that we’ve seen on our property. There’s the usual red and blue birds and a squirrel. Then there’s the deer we saw after the Fourth of July fireworks. My favorite is the otter – yes, an otter – that we saw running down our road one morning. I finally found a raccoon last month, and now I’m on the hunt for an armadillo and a possum. You should see the looks on the store clerks’ faces when I ask them if they have any armadillo ornaments! (I know I could just go online, but the year-long hunt is part of the fun.)

We also have some ornaments from the places we’ve visited, like St. Augustine and Boston. These are great reminders of fun trips throughout the years.

Hodge Podge

I’m not sure what Martha Stewart would say about our hodge podge Christmas tree, with a pine cone fox next to a ceramic figurine from Virginia, but we like it. It seems to represent who we are – a mix of old character with a bit of fun. And we love to show our tree to friends and family, telling them about the owl that stays in our live oak tree and about our trips to the St. Mark’s lighthouse. We also remember to appreciate the family that lovingly built our home and lived in it for so many years. It reminds us to appreciate our own family.

The Meaning of the Tree


Throughout the Old Testament, the symbol of a tree is often used in reference to Jesus. Terms like the Branch, the Branch of the Lord, and the Branch of David are seen in Scriptures such as Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15, and Zechariah 6:12. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus dies when He “hangs on a tree,” meaning He is crucified on a wooden cross (Galatians 3:13).

When we put up our Christmas tree each year, we remember these things. The star on top reminds us of the star the three wise men followed to reach the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:2). The tree itself reminds us that Jesus was born so that He might die on a wooden cross (Hebrews 10). The lights remind us that God is Light, and His light shines within us (1 John 1:5 and 2 Corinthians 4:6). Even the silly ornaments remind us that He is with us through every adventure, every day (Matthew 28:20).

If we never put up a Christmas tree, we would still be Christians. If we never had ornaments and presents and watched corny Christmas movies, we would still be His. But thank God for sweet reminders of His sacrifice, His blessings, and His presence that stays with us all year long. These are the real gifts of Christmas.

Do you have any neat Christmas traditions (or hacks)? I’d love to hear them! Please share them below in the comments section.

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Author: Ashley L Jones

My heart's desire is to show people of all ages how the Bible applies to their lives. I use my Masters in Biblical Studies to dig into the Word, and I share what I've learned on my blog ( Check out the About section of my blog for more details. Thanks for stopping by!

9 thoughts

  1. Ashley, I love that your tree and ornaments are part of your home’s “previous life”!

    Hmmm … hacks? We always have Chinese take-out when decorating the tree. And at some point, “It’s a Wonderful Life” must be watched, beginning to end.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Love the insight into your Christmas traditions. Even after 6 years of marriage the hubby and I are still working on ours—and the new baby is certain to alter them. Thanks for the reminders of Him at Christmastime.

    1. I didn’t think about that, but you’re right! You’re having to build new traditions now that you have a new baby in the house. I’m sure Jonathan is seeing Christmas in a whole new light now that he’s the big brother. 🙂

  3. Our tree is much like yours, except for being newer. We have ornaments our kids made and keepsakes from places we’ve visited. But our oldest tradition is this one special candy that has been part of my family for over fifty years. While some of our kids don’t eat it now, they say to me after Thanksgiving, “You are making your candy this year, right?” Sounds like it might get passed on to the next generation.

    1. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your tradition! My grandma used to make a special candied popcorn with my mom and aunt when they were kids. One year, they made it with me, and I remember thinking how great it was to be included in their old tradition. I hope Mom still has that recipe. Keep making your candy – and write down the recipe! Merry Christmas!

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