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Personal Growth

Full Tree, Full Life

I LOVE Christmas! It makes me sappy, sloppy emotional. The least little thing makes my eyes leak almost every day this time of year. Sappy ole Papa Dave. Jesus, kids, Santa, food, friends, and watching the generosity of folks is about as good as it gets for me.

I love our ole tree. Sure, we have the fancy items the decorator puts up for the parties and stuff, but the family tree is my fav. Sharon has collected so many ornaments that we really need three trees! Anything meaningful, and some things that aren’t, require a carefully selected ornament for the tree.

When we travel to Jamaica in July, I’m required to stay in the shopping area or flea market until we find the perfect Christmas ornament for the tree. (Insert eye roll.) But we come home with an ornament from every trip. Jamaica alone could be its own tree, but this morning I did notice ornaments from some cruises, plus Jamaica, New York, London, Paris, Panama, Greece, Alaska, Israel (duh), Aspen, Guatemala, Hollywood, and Park City, to just name a few. Lot of years, lot of miles.

Every event needs its own ornament. One of the oldest is a plexiglass tree from 1982, “Our First Christmas.” And every time we had a baby . . . ornament . . . when they grew to be a hockey player or cheerleader . . . ornament. When they went to high school or college . . . LOTS of UT ornaments.

When the babies got married . . . ornament . . . when the babies have babies . . . ornaments. So, when Super Samuel David, our youngest grandbaby, joined us on Super Bowl Sunday in February this year, he got his ornament. When Daniel married pretty Allison in April this year (that was a fun party), they got their wedding ornament.

Family dogs have their own ornaments. This morning I found Maggie’s, our Golden Retriever who died last summer (I miss her).

There are antique ornaments from my childhood tree and from Sharon’s as well. Of course, there are handmade ornaments made by the kids from their childhood with their little pictures in them. There are house ornaments for the year we moved into a new house. There’s even an ornament from The Great State of Tennessee from that time we dressed up fancy and went to the Governor’s Mansion for a Christmas party.

Most of these family ornaments have dates, and those events from decades ago seem just twenty minutes ago, including 1982.

A lot of you probably have trees like this. I just never thought of this tree as the story of the best parts of our life until this morning. A regular biography in evergreen. See, that’s the thing. The best parts are evergreen. They keep adding and growing, and the love gets deeper and deeper. We laugh, we cry, we celebrate, and it all ends up documented in the form of an ornament on this tree. This tree is packed full, my life is so full, and I am grateful beyond measure.

This life is going fast. An old friend told me the other day, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end you get, the faster it goes.” This ole Christmas tree reminds me to squeeze every ounce out of every day. This tree reminds me to be grateful, because we have been blessed beyond measure. When I have gratitude, I can’t keep from being generous, which is the reason for the season. God sent His only son, and He was born in a manger—generosity beyond measure.

Did I mention I love Christmas, and I’m emotionally sappy beyond measure? Merry Christmas to you and your family! And may your tree, your life, be so full it causes you to overflow with generosity.

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Dave Ramsey

About the author

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for the company Ramsey Solutions. Learn More.

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