The Devine Family Tree


Christmas trees are like visiting relatives, sometimes they reveal a little too much; often they retell the most embarrassing stories; seldom are you worse for their visit 😉 Therefore, since a tree has been ushered into my home as a symbol of the season, I thought I’d share a little like the relatives. First piece, that tree above fell to the floor last night, spraying water everywhere and sending my daughters into giggles. Today a dumbbell and a bungee cord are supplying necessary support.


I was born almost two months premature. My mother made it her mission to make up for my undercooking by packing the weight on. I went from skinny to plump as an infant, and then maintained a “hefty” frame as a toddler. But the best part of this ornament is my grin. Holy, God was I happy. Disclaimer: my daughters thought I was a girl.

Ornament-Pac Man

The Pac Man ornament is one of my most prized, so much so that when my mother gave my wife the original, I recreated it so that the replica still hangs on their tree. Yes, there are two of these. Eat your heart out Etsy. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I distinctly remember making it in second or third grade. The entire scene is lodged in my memory, the Christmas music in the background, the smell of the paint, the laughter from the class. Fortunately styrofoam packs well, because I plan on taking this bad boy to the grave.


From the time I was a senior in high school until two years ago, I owned a one-eyed dog, Chloe. I idiotically got her as a gift for my wife (yes, I married my high school sweetheart), and through the act of a vicious cat, she ended up half blind. But what she lacked in sight, she made up for in personality. She was simply awesome. Loyal, and keen in that way only a dog can be. This ornament is one of my daughters’ favorite, which makes my heart swell, because Chloe’s was the first death they experienced, and appropriately, they remember her fondly.


The ornament above does not say “bad”. Seriously, read it again. Ridiculous, I know. It does spell bad, but the irony is that it was purchased by my daughter from her school. It was supposed to read “Dad”. And the irony is only made sweeter by knowing me. This ornament may be the most perfect on the tree.

Ornament-Dough Boy

I love the Dough Boy, which is odd, because as someone with diabetes, I don’t devour many of his products. But there’s just something about his playful, innocent nature that I adore. I giggle every time I hear that belly-squirming laugh of his, and the older my children become, the more I want to hold onto that sound.


I couldn’t think of a more appropriate ornament to end with. This is from a colleague upon her retirement mid-year. Yes, it’s from Romeo and Juliet for those of you quizzing yourselves. I love the simplicity and the sentiment. “Parting is such sweet sorrow…” And that is how is feels as each holiday slides away. But we’re not there yet. We’re in the midst of shopping and crafting and stressing. So it goes. But take a moment, and consider your ornaments, or whatever holiday decorations you adorn your home with. They all tell a story. And like those relatives, it’s important that we listen.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holidays.

2 thoughts on “The Devine Family Tree

  1. Eric, this post warms my heart! I love Christmas tree decorating for this exact reason, the memories. Each ornament has a story and I love retelling it each year. I enjoyed each ornament that you have shared and WOW is that a large tree. Andrea

    • Thanks. It is a big boy, and man has it been difficult to keep straight. Hopefully the dogs have left all of the ornaments where they should be. I hope you enjoy getting your tree decorated, if you haven’t already.

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