Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Tree Full of Love

I have a friend whose Christmas tree is worthy of Rockefeller Center or Better Homes and Gardens.  All her ornaments are color coordinated, her tree a perfect theme of gold and white, glowing with lights.  It is a beautiful tree.  

My Christmas tree looks like the fallout from an explosion at a craft store.  There are salt dough ornaments, adorned pine cones, fading construction paper, and snowmen made from plastic spoons.  I have felt, buttons, beads and decorated clay pots, and a good supply of glitter.  I may have the only cardboard and felt hamster in existence, and it is patiently waiting for Santa in my Christmas tree.

 What I have is a tree filled almost to the brim with love.  There are ornaments commemorating a lot of special occasions, things my children created, and gifts from family and friends.  As I put each ornament out, I remember the people who gave them to me, or the reason I bought them.  I think of the stories behind the ornaments, and I have to admit, sometimes I tear up.  I count these ornaments amongst my most precious possessions, each one a vessel for memories.  Today I want to share the stories of some of the ornaments my students have given me over the last 20 Christmases.

Seventeen years ago, I read Alan Say's touching story, Tree of Cranes, to my first grade class, and then taught them how to fold a simple origami bird with a small square of Christmas wrap.  Later that day, Natalie, Michelle and Rachael each made me an origami bird from manilla paper.  These birds remind me of both the sweet girls who made them, and Say's book, and it is fitting that they spend each December perched together, deep within my Christmas tree.

Another year, Bree made me the clay pot ornament you see above.  In my thank you note, I wrote that I would put it on my tree every year, and think of her when I did.  How incredibly true that is, for that night she made me 6 paper angels too.  Such a sweet gesture, and I relive it each December.
Some of these gifts of love came from a store, presented in a fancy cardboard box with a photo of the ornament on the outside.  On most, I wrote the name of the child who gave it to me, and each year, those ornaments go back into their boxes, and I remember the kiddos as they were, so long ago.

 Love doesn't always come in fancy packaging.  The next ornament came from Keith, who was in my very first first-grade class.  He brought it to me the year he was in third grade.  He remembered me!  He still wanted me to know he was thinking of me.  Is there any gift more precious?

 Another year, Osuvaldo gave me a potted Christmas tree with a snowman and some pine cones decorating it.  I didn't manage to keep the tree alive, but the memory of the child and the gift lives on in the pine cone that still has a place on my tree.
 There are ornaments from Brian, and Avery, Alex and Aaron, Hadley and Tina, Ella and Hailey.  Many more, from Colin, Paige, Travis, Will, Lauren, Noah, Tiernan, Danny, Grant, Ana, Ella, T.J., James and some whose names I can no longer recall.

My tree may not look perfect, but it is filled almost to the brim with love.  As you enjoy this holiday season, which ever holiday you celebrate, I hope you both give and receive gifts of kindness, thoughtfulness and love, whatever form they may take.

Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!!! Anna Kate can't wait to add to your collection! ;)