As a little girl, we had a small Christmas tree that sat on a table and I dreamed of a tree that reached from the floor to the ceiling.  So from the time I was in college to now my tree has become a symbol of joy, beauty and lots of good memories.

Dan and I with the lights on

For years, I used to make an annual trek to the railroad yard downtown.  That’s where the trees come fresh off the train from Oregon and can be purchased at wholesale.  It is an experience!

Here I am with Dan, my loyal and dedicated associate of 20 years who has just completed stringing the lights.  He decorates the tree every year with creativity and love as his Christmas gift to me.  When I come home and see the glow of 3000 twinkling lights illuminating the boughs, it fills my heart with joy.

There was a magnolia tree in my front yard when I was growing up in Kentucky, so the silk magnolia blossoms I intersperse with the mixture of red and gold ornaments have a special meaning to me.

The ornaments I most treasure are simply made of dough. They bring back special memories of my children gathered in the kitchen sculpting teddy bears and snowmen with me while Christmas carols play on the stereo.

During this Holiday Season, no matter where you are and what you celebrate, be aware that the true gifts are about acts of love and the joy of giving.