These two ornaments pictured — the needlepoint Raggedy Ann and the tiny angel cut from the lid of a tin can — are two that were handmade by my Great Aunt Betty in Ohio. She died just over a year ago, but her creations that have decorated my trees since I was a child keep her memory alive.
Since my youngest daughter was born, I have picked out a Hallmark ornament for her each year. Usually I do it by myself, but sometimes she helps me. This year, she picked a miniature replica of Ralphie tentatively stroking the fishnet stocking lamp from “A Christmas Story,” one of our favorite Christmas movies. The year she dressed as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” for Halloween I got her an Ariel ornament. And the year I received a Nativity Scene for our house, I picked an ornament for her that depicts Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus in the manger.
This tradition was one that carried on for a few years when I was little by my Uncle Don and Aunt Linda. They would send Hallmark ornaments to me and my brothers. One of my favorites that I still have is an angel in braids and a long, light blue dress from 1977.
Ornaments can be souvenirs from a trip taken that year or handmade crafts made by children’s little hands in classes at school.
Some of the ornaments on my trees have been ornaments from my own childhood, bought and brought home from the years we lived in Germany while my father served in the Navy. But cats can prove mischievous around Christmas trees. A few years ago, we came home to discover that our four cats at the time had toppled our entire tree, smashing many of those delicate glass balls, including the tree topper that was at least 30 years old.
Other homes I’ve been in have Christmas tree themes, where bulbs are limited to one or two colors, with no random ornaments allowed to sneak in. Those are beautiful too, but I love the hodgepodge of memories that fill our tree.
What memories are on your Christmas tree or in other special holiday decorations?