We have an artificial tree that we inherited when my in-laws were downsizing their own Christmas decor. It's covered with colored lights and every imaginable kind of ornament, chaotic and perfect in the way that family Christmas trees ought to be.
When we moved to our town five years ago, we started decorating a real tree each year as well. We had a perfect front window for it, plus our kids' school has a Christmas Tree lot as a fundraiser. The first year, the real tree had some random decorations and kept falling over (including onto my friend and her son while she was changing his diaper during a preschool lunchtime playdate -- those were the days!).
I found some cardinal ornaments at Target, Kohl's, and Walgreens on deep discount after Christmas that first year. Combining the bargain cardinals with the cardinal ornaments my mom had been gifting me ever since my oldest was born, a vision was born. I could imagine the cardinal tree and knew it would be spectacular. And it is. I take pleasure in seeking and finding cardinal ornaments to add to my collection and have been lucky to have friends and family help the cause.
Cardinals are my reminder that all is well in my world. For me, cardinals are peace, joy, and, always, hope. It feels right to write about this cardinal tree on the first Sunday of Advent, the season in which we wait and hope.