My first Christmas season away from home was the first year out of college, 1983. I was in Willow Springs, Missouri, serving Trinity Baptist Church.
I put up a tree that year and invited all the kids in the church youth group to a tree decorating party. I provided my mother’s cranberry cinnamon punch and a lot of food; the kids each brought an ornament.
I still have some of those ornaments, although I’ve long forgotten the names of the kids or who gave me what.
But the Christmas tree is decorated each year with memories of places and people, collected over more than three decades of adult travel, friendships, shows, and life experiences.
Here are some of my favorites: