Our old house was also my mother-in-laws home before she passed on. Hubs lived there with his mom before he bought it several years after her death. When we got married her things where still in the house. Her clothes were still in her dresser, her collections still gathering dust on the shelves; but this is only told so you can have some background on why I felt like an outsider in our home in those early days.
We used his mothers tree that first year (and a couple years after) and all her ornaments. While a tasteful woman, her style was not a style I felt comfortable with. Now don't get me wrong, I love this woman whom I never met, but we are different. While she passed away more than 20 years ago, I still feel like I know her; I know her through her son, my husband. She raised him and loved him and made him to be the kind, caring, gentle man that he is. I will always love her, even if I don't care for her style.
But back to that first year...
We had a couple friends over who helped me set up the tree. When Hubs got home from work I put on Christmas music and set about decorating the tree and house they way I thought it should be decorated; simple.... It became apparent that Hubs was not his usual easy going self, and I began to pester as to why. He was quiet and reserved. I persisted in trying to make this a joyous event and after about half of his mothers ornaments were on the tree when I pronounced it done! I believed it to be beautiful. In hubs mind it was incomplete. The result was a fight and I cried because I felt as if I were a guest in our home. It wasn't until I made some major changes (not all met with joy at first) before I felt like my mark was being made. But first I had to explain this...
It was two in the morning before our talking, my crying, and more talking resulted in a discussion and growth and understanding.
That's what love is about.
It was a very hard first year of married life in many ways, the Christmas tree was one of several things we learned from that first year. It was hard, but well worth the effort.
Marriage takes work, and understanding each other. Its not always easy, but its worth the work. This year our Christmas tree has beloved ornaments from Hubs childhood, a few from mine, and a lot we have bought since that first year. Now we share stories as we hang up the ornaments one by one. We share the stories with Bear. Our tree now reflects us as a family. Our house is less decorated than Hubs had as a child, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well. Being with loved ones and spending time together reflecting upon our Savior's birth is what matters.