Thursday, December 10, 2009

Only Ornamental

Our Christmas tree will never make a Christmas photo spread in a magazine. There is no 'theme' to it. It has an odd and varied collection of ornaments: from a carrot to a mini chalkboard eraser.

The girls laugh when I put the ornaments from the early years of our marriage on the tree. Our big splurge that first year was for lights and some shiny glass balls. The rest of our tree was covered in ornaments made from Christmas cards as they arrived in the mail. Some were knit together like sewing cards, while others were glued to Styrofoam. The final touch was the popcorn strands. (Those Christmas card ornaments are still some of my favorites!)

Through the years we have collected ornaments from vacations, craft fairs, and quite a few have been gifts. This hand-crafted wooden Santa is a favorite. The Mr.'s uncle, the wood carver, made this Santa for me about a year after we married. Though the uncle passed away many years ago now, I still think of him every time I hang this on the tree.
When K was born, the school librarian bought me the Hallmark "Baby's First Christmas" ornament. I love the tiny shadow box. Someday, K will have it on her own tree.
A few years later when L came along, I bought the Hallmark First Christmas ornament for her. Such a sweet little cradle. L and K have added quite a few ornaments to the tree in the years since. They each have their own box of ornaments. The plan is to give them their collection when they marry.
Some of our ornaments represent not only our family history, but also the history of our country and community. A friend made this decoration right after 9-11. It has been on my tree every year since.
Last Christmas a colleague gave us this ornament with a picture of the front of our high school before the tornado. One last glimpse of the school as we knew it. I know that my girls will be fighting over this ornament in the years to come.

There are ornaments from the Mr.'s coaching years and my years as a cheerleader sponsor. There is a beautiful hand painted china ornament from my step-mother. I've also inherited some of Mom's ornaments that her elementary students gave her when she was teaching. Then there are the ornaments K and L made in grade school and in Sunday school: mainly glue and glitter. These are just a few of the memories that I hang on the tree every year.

In case of fire, I would want to grab the ornaments!


Steve Gravano said...

I love those special ornaments people put on their trees. We have a glass ball that belonged to my grandmother and a slew of handmade ornaments from the boys. Evey year our church has an Advent fair where the children make Christmas decorations. One family makes ornaments from ocean scallop shells with a photo in the center. Real family keepsakes.

FlowerLady said...

I know just what you mean. We have a lot of special ornaments I love hanging on the tree every year. Lots of love and memories they bring out. Your tree and home are lovely. Your place looks inviting and filled with love and happiness.

Enjoy each day of this Christmas season.


Gayle said...

I know just what you mean! I would never want to lose those special ornaments.

ch said...

We had a family friend that sent Josh, Whitney and I a new ornament that she had made during the course of the year. We moved away from the town she'd lived in when right after Whitney was born, and we'd never recognize her if we saw her, but the season DID NOT begin until Rita's ornaments had arrived. I love your memory tree. Absolutely perfect.

Debbie said...

I have a non-themed tree, too. I put the ornaments that our kids hand-made throughout their grade school years on the tree along with ornaments that I have collected and purchased. Also, every year my friend and I give each other an ornament to commemorate another year of friendship. In my opinion, the non-themed, sentimental trees are the best!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tree. Ours is very similar except we don't hang garland but do hang icicles. Our ornaments are a hodgepodge of memories. I especially treasure the ones my children made. Merry Christmas!

Puna said...

What a special thing. It's a collection of your life. How wonderful. And I think your tree is beautiful!

Dandy said...

I love the stories behind your collection of ornaments. Love it.

I think B and I need to go get a special ornament for this year!

Katie @ Can't Get There said...

I *love* this post! My tree is a jumble of stories and memories, too. I have three or four ornaments from when I was little. The girls each have pewter baby ornaments with their names engraved. I have some of my mom's old ornaments that she gave me after I asked one too many tims if I could inherit them one day. And many more. The reason for the season, right?

ELK said...

a beautiful window into your very special world Mrs your new header as well