I have a confession to make: I'm not good at holiday decorating. Maybe it's because I was never very crafty or maybe it's because I hate hauling stuff down from the attic or maybe it's just because I hate the tap dance of moving things from tables and shelves in order to make room for decorations.
In this respect, I am a lot like my mother.
Although, she did elaborate decorating when I was growing up, which was in vogue in the 1970s, she scaled way back in her later years. She actually gave away most of her decorations to me and my brother despite our protests that we didn't need them. So, it was a big surprise when she died to find a box of more than one hundred lamb ornaments she had been saving for years in her basement. There were wooden lambs, ceramic lambs, cloth lambs, homemade lambs, lambs missing an eye or a tail, lambs that had seen better days.
My mother was never very sentimental or into collecting things. She was definitely not cutesy. So, this penchant for little lamb ornaments was very uncharacteristic. Given this, I decided it was a sign that I needed to use every single lamb ornament to decorate my tree. I use it as an opportunity to share memories of my mother and my childhood with my daughters. And while I would prefer a tree that is simple and full of symmetry, the little lamb ornaments give me such pleasure because I imagine all the places my mother found them, bought them and stored them delicately in preparation for the following Christmas.
There's something about creating and sharing a tradition with children that makes it so worthwhile and comforting.
"How many lambs do you think I should put on the tree?"
"All of them," my youngest daughter squeals with delight.
And so, "all of them," it is ...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.