When my eldest child's first Christmas was near, I was hurrying around doing my Christmas shopping when I happened to pass a Hallmark store that had all their Christmas ornaments prominently displayed in the front of the store.
My eyes were immediately drawn to a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament I thought was adorable.
I bought the ornament and decided I was going to give him a special ornament every year until he was 18 years old.
He's now 24 years old and is still receiving a special ornament from me every year.
His younger brother and sister have each received a special ornament every year since they were born too.
I planned on stopping when my oldest child was 18, but when he found out I wasn't going to give him any more ornaments he asked me to continue the tradition.
He said he would enjoy receiving an ornament from me every year for as long as I could do it because he loved how I always looked for something that had meaning to him.
When he was younger and liked Star Wars, I bought him Star Wars ornaments.
When he started to like computers I found him a computer ornament.
When he started bowling I was able to find a cute bowling ornament.
And during a few lean years our family had, I made very simple and nearly identical ornaments for all my children.
I've since made other handmade ornaments using material that were a lot more expensive than the ones I used during our "poor years," yet those simple ornaments still generate the most conversation and mean a lot to my children because they know I took the time to make them something.
Since my children were little, they made sure to hang each and every one of their own ornaments on the tree, having mini-discussions about each one.
When my daughter hangs up her ballet ornament we talk for a little while about how much she loved ballet when she was younger.
When my middle son hangs up his chili pepper ornament we typically talk about how he has a stomach of steel because he can eat (and enjoy) very hot salsas and peppers.
And when they get to the simple handmade ornaments we talk for a little bit about the years we were very poor.
Decorating our Christmas tree has become a trip down memory lane and it is a meaningful and special trip every year.
There are thousands of different Christmas ornaments available every year.
With a little bit of looking it's possible to find an ornament for just about any subject you desire.
Hallmark has an extensive line of ornaments every year, but that's just one place to look.
When my daughter started college I contacted the college bookstore and was able to get a beautiful hand-painted ornament of the school that one of the art students at the school had created.
The college bookstore was happy to pack and ship it to me.
Craft fairs are another good place to look for unusual and unique ornaments.
The Internet is another great resource to use while on your quest for special ornaments.
Sporting Goods stores are a great place to find sports-themed Christmas ornaments.
Gift shops in museums are another good place to find special Christmas ornaments.
For example, an air museum is likely to have airplane ornaments if you have someone who loves planes.
Once you start looking, you're likely to see Christmas ornaments in many places you didn't expect.