Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Day 3 - Christmas Tree Ornaments

My daughter adding a new ornament to our tree last Christmas morning.

It's no secret that I love Christmas tree ornaments. I must wind up with at least a dozen or more new ones each year. Some I buy - I'm addicted to those Hallmark Keepsake ornaments - and some are given to me by friends and family.

Needless to say, we've amassed an extensive collection of ornaments!

As I mentioned in my Day 1 post about Christmas Trees, I inherited quite a few old, family ornaments when my mother and grandmother passed away. There are many that are in bad condition, and I should probably just get rid of them. But then, most were handmade by family members and have sentimental value, so I keep them, even if I don't use them.

And yes, I suppose I hang onto them for all the wrong reasons, but I just haven't been able to let them go. No need to report me to "Hoarders," though, I promise.

But there are many other heirloom (to me, anyway) ornaments that I do use each year. One year, my grandmother decided to go with a gold and white themed tree, and made all of her ornaments by hand. I still have her gold bells, snowflakes, and icicles, and I use them each year.

Back in the late 1970's, my mother made dozens of red bows from a wired, velvet ribbon. Quite a few of them have survived, and I put them on the tree each year for a blast of red color. Plus, they're like little reminders of my mom on my tree.

Probably my favorite old ornaments are the "icicle men." They're these odd-shaped, clear, plastic figures, with sharp, pointy heads and red noses. They are not cute. When I was a kid, we would hide them deep inside the tree (presumably because of their non-cuteness?) and make a game of finding them. I still do this, although for years, I've been the only one who cared to look for them later. I'm hoping my daughter will want to play along this year.

I have several ornament "collections" to which I add each year. In my younger, single days, I collected the Hallmark Barbie™ Christmas ornaments. I stopped collecting them (and hanging them on the tree) when I married my husband; he thought they were much too silly and girlie. I'll eventually give them to my daughter when she gets a little older, or let her put them on a tree in her room. Or put them on the back of the tree where no one ever looks.

For my husband, I buy an airplane ornament each year. He really could care less, but I thought there needed to be some ornaments that had some meaning to him on the tree. I also pick up whatever moose ornaments I can find. My husband has been a moose-collector since he used to regularly travel to Newfoundland on business.

A few of our special ornaments.

My daughter has received those "Baby's 1st Christmas," "2nd Christmas," etc., ornaments every year since she was born (unfortunately, this will be her last year receiving one, as "5th Christmas" seems to be the limit). I hang those low on the tree where she can see them. We also have several family pictures on the tree, which she enjoys.

We have many cherished ornaments on our tree each year. I'm looking forward to seeing them again... as soon as my husband brings in the boxes from the garage!

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This post is the third in the "2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" series, and was originally posted on December 3, 2009. Slight modifications have been made.

To learn more, or to join in the fun, please visit the official blog of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

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DianaR said...

I laughed about you buying airplane and moose ornaments because of your husband. My best friend does that - she has a fishing santa ornament and a motorcycle santa ornament. And it is the same reaction - her husband doesn't really care, but SHE feel better that he is represented on the tree!! :-)

(BTW - I'll be watching for that loaded cranberry sauce recipe!!)

Barbara Poole said...

It is always fun reading your posts that somehow involve your daughter. And of course, your DAR posts and all the others. I can't image how long it takes you to put them on the tree, but have fun with it, and please take pictures for next year.

grace said...

I love the old ornaments that were my mother's. Some how I do not have much left. I love your tinsel man . how fun

Kristin said...

I wish I had some of the old family ornaments but they disappeared. The icicle man is pretty funny.

Lori E said...

I did go through my ornaments a few years ago and only kept the ones that were in decent shape. Now the ones that remain are very special.
Oh and those panda pjs. Too cute.

Greta Koehl said...

If you haven't already, you should check out Janice Tracy's Mississippi Memories. She has a beloved moose ornament (which has the problem most of our reindeer ornaments have - it only wants to show its rear end to the outside). And - I think you're doing the right thing keeping the old ornaments; I just wish I had my Mom's old ones. - A fellow ornament freak

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Thank you for the kind comments, everyone! I bought a bunch more ornaments on Black Friday. I know, shame on me. :-)

Lori E, it's too bad they don't make those PJs in grown-up size. I'm sure they'd be a big hit with my husband.

Greta, I'll check out Tracy's post. We also have one of those mooning moose ornaments; I wonder if it's just something they all do?

Thanks, Barbara. It takes a long time. Too long. Now that my daughter wants to "help," I think it will take even longer (but that's ok). To say that SHE'S VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE would be an understatement.