Our tree is an I Spy.
I spy two (of three) sequined partridges (sewn by my mother),
a poodle and a felt horned frog (sewn by my grandmother-in-law),
one of a growing number of sock monkeys,
the Wizard of Oz,
the parrot judge from Alice in Wonderland,
a bunny rabbit dressed like Superman . . .
. . . and on, and on, and on, and on.
Our tree reminds me, sort of, of the Special Shapes Glodeo, an event we attended with Little Kid when we visited New Mexico during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Only the non-balloon-shaped hot air balloons participate, and they don't take off. Rather, they are inflated shortly before dusk, and when it gets sufficiently dark, someone counts backwards from ten, and all of the balloon pilots ignite their burners at once. You have not lived until you are standing in the middle of a field (yes, you are encouraged to go out amidst the balloons), surrounded by the most random combination of nightlights-on-steroids imaginable. To your left, the Belgian flag, next to Chesty the Marines Corps Bulldog. To your right, a piggy bank next to a matryoshka doll. In front of you, a giant bottle of whiskey. I promise you that is one of the most surreally beautiful things you will ever see.
Our tree makes as little sense - and as much sense - as the Special Shapes do. Each ornament is unique, some are quite weird, but, together, they make sense.
Every one has a story behind it, and the stories are a big part of the beauty. I get that now. When I was young, and being raised by a non-matching-tree mother, I used to go through holiday catalogs and wonder what it might be like to have a coordinated tree. At one point, I suggested that Mom do away with all of the non-matching stuff and just buy a few kits of entirely impersonal, but totally coordinated, glass balls, in colors to match the furniture. She declined. And now I have my own version of a Hodgepodge Tree, with WAY too many ornaments, and I cannot imagine having anything else.