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Amanda Lamb: All I want for Christmas

Posted December 2, 2012

I’ve always had a low maintenance Christmas tree.

Before the kids were born, it involved only balls: Gold and red, and white lights. Eventually, once the girls started making ornaments, I had to bend my OCD ways and allow their creations to grace the tree. At first, I had a little cognitive dissonance seeing the handmade Rudolphs and Santas made out of Popsicle sticks, paper-mache and pipe cleaners. But soon, I was able to make peace with this new phase in my life.

Two years ago, after wrestling with broken and tangled lights, we finally broke down and bought an artificial tree with the lights built in. And then, the best part happened: My daughters began decorating the tree without my help.

Finally, I was free of the task for good as I now had capable elves who could handle it for me. Over the years, my mother, who loved Christmas, had threatened me that she would send me her ornaments. I told her to please not to, because I didn’t want any more clutter in my house.

But this year, things changed. When I was cleaning out my mother’s house after her death, I found a box of Christmas ornaments. I honestly thought she had given them all away because she always spent Christmas with us in North Carolina, and hadn’t bothered to put up a tree in several years.

And here’s the really unbelievable part: The ornaments were all lambs. Apparently, on account of our last name, my mother had been collecting lamb ornaments since the sixties. The box contained hundreds of lambs, porcelain, metal, wooden, you name it. Many of them I recognized from my childhood, the wilted felt lamb with the googly eyes, lambs with my name on them that I had obviously made at school or at a Christmas party, and newer, more modern lambs that she had acquired in more recent years. Amanda Lamb's Christmas tree

My daughters began the tedious process of finding places for all of the lambs on our tree. After about an hour of work, they were understandably pooped. As I walked by the half empty box of lambs, I suddenly decided that all of the lambs needed to be on the tree this year.

So, without hesitation, I began the process of finishing what my daughters had started. An hour later, I stepped back and assessed my handiwork. There was not a bare branch in sight. Every single limb was graced by a lamb.

As I stood in the room where my mother died, I decided it was a fitting tribute to bring her lambs to a joyous place of honor this Christmas in this very spot. I imagined her admiring it and laughing at the same time…

I knew you would eventually see it my way, she was saying.

Amanda Lamb is a mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including several on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.



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  • cmmsbft Dec 4, 2012

    what about the book?

  • Glass Half Full Dec 4, 2012

    This is an awesome Christmas story. So glad your mom kept those ornaments. You may not have wanted then earlier but you and your family will surely treasure them now. You'll remember your mom with a smile each time you look at your lovely Lamb tree!

  • vjayd Dec 4, 2012

    That's the best Christmas story, EVER. Glad to see that the cycle of life is continuing. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

  • mudmom2 Dec 4, 2012

    wonderful...enjoy the season and the thoughts of your mom...she is there with you all....Merry Christmas

  • jclathamnc Dec 3, 2012

    What a beautiful story! You can know that your great grandchildren will read this some day.

  • busyasabee Dec 3, 2012

    This is also my second Christmas without my mama.She died last September from Cervical Cancer. I got to get her tree and her ornaments I was thinking about not putting her tree or any tree up this year but after reading this I know that if I do put it up I can only hope she will be looking down on me laughing too, and of course I still put my grown kids now stuff on the tree that they made me when they were little.It will never look like mamas for hers was always perfect. Thank you for the story I really needed it.

  • packbackrb Dec 3, 2012

    This Christmas will be my second without my mother who passed away after a mercifully short two month battle with ovarian cancer. Decorating the tree - no artificial tree would EVER grace her home - was always one of her favorite things about Christmas. I learned not to even try to help because she would rearrange any ornament I hung to her exact specifications. I still laugh about that. As I decorate the tree I will take the time to celebrate her life and give thanks for the dear precious children and grandchildren she left behind.

  • kimsstressed Dec 3, 2012

    Your mom is still with you... helping you heal... I know how hard this Christmas will be for you, but take time each night to sit there and look at the tree and remember the good times....

  • Gr8Fun Dec 3, 2012

    My tree is covered in little ornaments my son has made each year. It's also covered in medal handprints that I have made of his hand each year at the state fair. Each ornament on my tree is so sentimental and precious to me. There's a story behind each piece. Although my tree may look gaudy and ridiculous, when I look at it it's nothing but absolute beauty! Afterall, beauty is in the eye of the beholder :)

  • moppie Dec 3, 2012

    When my parent's got married in 1968, my mother spent months making ornaments for their first Christmas tree. Felt ornaments were beaded and sequined, styrofoam balls were covered with smocked fabric, you name it, she decorated it. The tradition continued, and we always made some kind of ornament for the tree every year. When she passed away in 2008, I found many ornament kits that we hadn't made yet. So I've continued the tradition this year, and am making my kids beautiful needlepoint ornaments. A little piece of their Nana, made by their Mama :)Funny how we really do become our mothers!