The tree is up and the air is filled with the sounds of the season, Christmas will soon be upon us. Tree trimming is serious business in our family. I come from a long line of serious tree trimmers...think dictators:) It all starts with the elusive tree hunt...this can take trips to numerous vendors and hours of deliberation...too fat, to tall, to many gaps. However when we finally find the tree we just know it, it seems to say "hello I've been waiting for you". Step one completed, we move on to the most difficult part of the mission....the lights. For years I did the lights, one might say I was a tad bit obsessive about it. Finally, a few years back I gave up the reins to my dear husband. Wow, decorating the tree is so much more fun now! At long last it is time to put up the ornaments. Whenever I unwrap an ornament it's like I've found a long lost memory. Every year on vacation my parents would let my sister and I pick out one ornament for the tree. When we became adults we were gifted these ornament to don are own trees. We've now purchased ornaments to commemorate the joys of our life...honeymoon, first home, baby's first Christmas. We also continue the tradition with our own children and let them buy one ornament a year for their future trees. One of the most special ornaments for me is my Radko peace cow ornament. In august of 2004 while we were on vacation with my parents, my aunt was undergoing risky lung surgery. As we were about to enter the Christmas Loft to purchase our annual ornament we got a life shattering call. My dear Tia Marcia had passed away. We were shocked and grief stricken as we clung to each other in the parking lot. Needless to say no ornaments were purchased that day. We returned to the cabin to celebrate the life of an extraordinary and beautiful woman. That year's ornament almost didn't happen, but I couldn't let the tradition slip by. On the last day of vacation, on our way out of town, I stopped and bought three ornaments, one for my mother, sister and I. Each year as I place this precious ornament at the center of the tree I remember my dear Tia and give thanks for the legacy she left behind.