Monday, December 3, 2012

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

My daughter showing her newly-unwrapped ornament.
Notice the look of excited appreciation on her face.

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 lack of 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 suppose 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 if she ever cleans it enough to fit a tree in there. Or I'll 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, "5th Christmas" seems to be the limit, so I have to be more creative now. I hang those low on the tree where she can see them. We also have several family pictures on the tree, which she enjoys.

Last year, I was sick as a dog at Christmastime, and finally dragged myself out of bed about 2 days before the Big Day. I let my daughter decorate the tree mostly by herself while I "supervised," so all the ornaments were hung down low. It was hilarious seeing a 9-foot tree with all the ornaments on the bottom half, but I honestly think it's been my favorite tree so far.

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 part of the "2012 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" series, and was originally posted on December 3, 2009. Slight modifications have been made.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

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2 comments:

Jana Last said...

How fun that you have some old family ornaments from your mom and grandmother. That's very cool!

I also like having unique ornaments on the tree instead of only hanging the usual packaged glass globes.

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Special ornaments with memories are the best. I do not have ornaments from my older relatives but I have mini picture frames on my tree. The pictures are of relatives now and then. My Christmas tree becomes a family tree.