I love Christmas ornaments. LOVE. They hold a special place in my heart and have become a very important tradition to me. It all started with my maternal grandmother, my Grandma Barbara. Every year for Christmas one of the gifts that each grandchild got was an ornament from Grandma Barbara. My paternal grandmother, Grandma Elaine, thought that was a neat tradition, and so she started doing it as well.
My Grandma Barbara passed away when I was thirteen, which was incredibly difficult for me, and my mom decided to pick up where she had left off with the ornament giving. However, whereas my grandmothers gave us darling, but generic, Christmas ornaments, my mom would get us each an ornament that represented an important part of our year. I have personalized ornaments representing skiing, drill team, the year that I was the Tin Man in a musical play of The Wizard of Oz (yes, you read that correctly……I have a very low voice), and many other events.
My mom passed away 9 1/2 years ago, but my sweet dad has valiently kept the tradition alive, and he buys an ornament each year still for his daughters, his grandchildren, and even his sons-in-law! Of course, he does so in “Dad” style. As in, after decorating her tree this year my sister Laura called him laughing to inform him that he had given them the same [slightly tacky] ornament three years in a row. Haha!
Needless to say, our ornament collections grew and grew until they were quite sizable! Every year it was so fun to have our very *own* ornaments to put on the tree, and when I got married I didn’t need to buy a tree decorations because I already had a collection that was too large for our apartment’s tiny little tree!
Now that I am an adult my grandparents are no longer giving me ornaments each year, but my collection is still growing steadily thanks to my mother’s other tradition, which is that she would buy a Christmas ornament everywhere that she traveled. I began doing this in college, and I now have ornaments that represent my visits everywhere from Disneyland and Bear Lake, Utah to China and Germany. I always use an ultra thin permanent marker to put the year of each trip on the ornaments.
Between my trip ornaments and the ornaments that my parents and grandparents have given to me throughout my life, decorating the tree is always a very sweet, sentimental experience for me that is full of happy memories. Our tree is not going to be on the cover of a Martha Stewart magazine, but it is special and meaningful to me. And that is just how I like it!
This year I have wrapped and waiting under the tree a Lightning McQueen ornament for my son to represent our trip to Cars Land and a Minnie Mouse ornament for his sister to represent her love affair with Minnie that began when we spotted her at Disneyland and got the *perfect* picture of them together. (Which you will be seeing in a couple of upcoming Disney-related tutorials. It is amazing. Not that I am biased or anything.) My dad has ornaments waiting for them as well. Don’t you just love traditions? I do!
If you want to start this tradition with your own family I would suggest starting with a handmade ornament venue, such as a craft fair or Etsy. Of course, if you want them by Christmas then you had better order them quickly!
However, if you would prefer to make the ornaments then check out my Baker’s Twine Wreath Ornament Tutorial or my Handmade Ornament Roundup from my favorite bloggers around the web sometime this week! Ornament loves unite! Merry Christmas!