I enjoy the annual Christmas tree trimming at our house. (Well, aside from climbing up into the attic and hauling down all the boxes.) We put on some Christmas music, light a cinnamon-scented candle, assemble the faithful old artificial tree, and start unpacking the boxes.

We have several boxes full of ornaments that we have collected over the years. There are handmade ornaments, ornaments that remind us of special events, ornaments from around the world, and heirloom ornaments. Each has its own story to tell. Actually, we have so many that we can’t put all the ornaments on the tree at the same time. It’s fun to go through the collection and decide which ones to feature each year.

Yesterday, as I was walking past the tree on the way to the kitchen, the sparkling ornaments reminded me of something I read: Charlotte Mason said that some studies serve for ornament (Vol. 3, p. 214). They aren’t necessary, but they add beauty and interest.

You see, we could easily pile our Christmas presents under a plain, unadorned tree, but the ornaments add that special touch that we so enjoy. And subjects like music study or picture study or poetry enrich us as persons, add beauty and interest to us, just like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Are they necessary? Probably not. But they make us more interesting people and add beauty to our lives.

So the next time a member of your family asks, “What’s the point in studying these old paintings?” use your Christmas tree as an example. Some subjects serve for ornament.

All of us here at SCM hope that you have a blessed Christmas!

PS: We won’t be sending out an e-mail next week during the holiday, but we are pretty addicted to the SCM Forum and will most likely be chatting there no matter what day it is.