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2 0 1 5 T r a d i T i o n s M a g a z i n e 31 Uncracked The Spirit of Christmas Text and Photography by katie byrne { } nless you're talking about egg nog, eggs aren't traditionally associated with Christmas. eggs typically represent the rebirth of nature in spring- time and similarly the resurrection of Jesus cel- ebrated on easter. But the beauty of family traditions is that they are unique to the world. no two family traditions are exactly the same. even such time-honored tra- ditions as hanging stock- ings from the mantle vary from home to home. some exclusively fill them with candy bars, others a single ornament, and some give cheap gag gifts meant as inside jokes. so what do eggs have to do with Christmas? everything, if you are me. Twenty-nine years ago my then 12-year-old daughter took a simple Christmas craft project and turned it into a cher- ished Christmas gift that continues to bring me joy to this day. she took a single egg, punctured holes at each end, and then blew out the yolky contents leaving only a fragile shell. she carefully painted the egg pink, her favorite color, and decorated it with a tiny green ribbon hot glued to the top. she used a marker to complete the ornament with "Merry Christmas, 1986." To truly understand the meaning of this orna- ment, you have to understand the care with which it is handled. each year i personally unwrap the egg from its cotton nesting place on the top shelf in my closet. only i can hang it from the tree. and after each Christmas, i carefully return it to its cotton cocoon to last another 11 months. is special pink egg has traveled across the country 2,634 miles from Florida to Los angeles and then 190 more miles up the middle of Califor- nia to Visalia and now exeter. despite its fragile state, only made more brittle with time, this hollow egg has endured 29 decembers hanging from the tree, 29 cotton wrappings and 29 years on the shelf amidst the clutter, clatter and clamor of life. To say it has a special meaning is an understate- ment. i treasure this egg. it hangs each Christ- mas from a special branch near the top of the tree, where no other orna- ments are allowed to detract from its beauty, tarnish its tenderness or infringe on its innocence. once situated in its place of great personal perspec- tive, i take a photograph and send it to my now grown daughter with the caption, "as always and Forever ere." Christmas orna- ments are a festive favor- ite for any family, because whether they are hand- crafted or store bought, each is a symbol of significant meaning displayed for all to share in a story of the season. Whether your favorite holiday traditions in- clude something as solid as fruitcake or as fragile as egg ornaments, just be sure to carry them on with the beauty from which they began. Merry Christmas, Michelle.

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