Editorial board Christmas tradition: Simple gifts

Sometimes the simplest things hold the most value. This is true in life and it is true on the Christmas tree. My boys were blessed to have had the same kindergarten teacher. This teacher taught kindergarten at Liberty Christian School for 16 years and was very structured and an excellent classroom manager, and her students loved her. She was even honored with the Crystal Apple Award one year.

Each December, she had her students make a simple ornament using construction paper, a paper doily and a tiny version of the child's school photo. Of course, all the families enjoyed it immensely when their child proudly brought their little creation home, but unbeknownst to the parents, this ornament was magical because it would grow to be more special with each passing year.

Every year, when we pull our ornaments out of the attic with the other Christmas decorations, we become more sentimental when our eyes fall on our favorite little photo ornaments. It is a reminder of simpler times when our kids' biggest dilemmas were "what should I bring for show and tell" and "should I wear the blue shirt or the green shirt today?"

Now, the effects of their choices are much more life-changing and their questions are more difficult to answer. For example: "Am I making the right choice for my bachelor's degree?" and, "Which internship would be more beneficial to my career?"

They probably daily face many more choices that they don't tell us about. We only can hope that they we have equipped them with the tools they need to make wise decisions.

The magical little paper ornaments bring back all this reminiscing and more. Looking at these ornaments reminds me of other pivotal and historical moments in their childhood, including their baptisms, birthday parties and the sad morning when I told them that planes had flown into the twin towers as they got ready for school. Looking at the magical ornaments reminds me of the pure hearts of children and the innocence we hope they never completely lose.

It is fun to go to other people's homes at Christmastime and see the same ornament on their tree and realize that at some point, their child was blessed go to the same school and to have the same kindergarten teacher as our boys had.

My boys are 20 and 19 now and are away at college, one on the west coast at George Fox University and one on the east coast at West Point Military Academy, both possibly majoring in mathematics.

We're eager to welcome them home at Christmas but, until then, we gaze fondly at the magical little paper doily ornaments and look forward to seeing them soon.

-- Judy Koglin, reader representative