I couldn’t tell you what I got for Christmas in third grade. Or for most Christmases for that matter. Sure, I remember the big stuff. The Cabbage Patch Doll that I hoped I got because I knew they were flying off the shelves. The black-and-white TV set that got me through the grogginess of many migraines with the help of “Dallas” and “Love Boat.”
But year after year as we pull out the box of ornaments for our tree, Christmases past come sweeping back. The green beaded ornament that my kids don’t really like has always been one of my favorites. My grandmother bought us grandkids a special ornament every year for our packages. She picked them out at craft shows and we all got something different. That ornament reminds me of Christmas Eve at her house—a velvet Christmas dress and itchy tights with a crotch that hung near my knees. I remember looking for the lighted Santa on someone’s porch before we crossed the bridge, and coming home and climbing into bed with my sister, the only night of the year I was ever allowed.
Many ornaments on our tree tell a story. There’s the fancy beaded ball my mom made that used to hang on my childhood tree. She used beaded pins to hold sequins and beads in place. Our tree stood in the living room then and I remember a Christmas long ago when my sister picked out a snowman soap for me. I loved snowmen. I loved that soap and it sat on my dresser for years, unused and gathering dust. I think I finally threw it out as a teenager. More than anything, I loved that my sister bought me something she thought I would like.
There’s a golden wreath with a picture of my sister and me dangling from the center. We’re teenagers and I remember that my hair looked decent that day, a true accomplishment. There’s a wooden Revolutionary soldier on a red horse and that’s the first ornament I ever remember being mine. My sister and I fought every Christmas over who had the red one and who had the white one and, more importantly, who would hang which on our quickly dying tree. My parents finally got smart and taped our names to the backs.
When I married, I brought my box of ornaments with me. My husband did the same. And his ornaments tell stories too. His grandmother gave him a new ornament every year, and those were always from some kind of craft venue too. The lid of his box lists each ornament and the year she gave it to him. There’s the little football player sporting a green uniform (no doubt an Eagles player), birds made from pinecones, and a simple Matchbox car with a yarn hanger.
Every year our kids hang those ornaments on our tree along with the ornaments their grandparents have given them. And while they sometimes make fun of our old, crusty ones and root through the bin in search of “better” things to hang, I know one day the kids will look back at all of those ornaments and have stories of their own.
34 responses to “Remember the Christmas…”
Our tree is also a collection of our memories, some of our kids in their earlier years, and some from mine and Scott’s. We get to revisit and celebrate those stories each time the tree and boxes come out of the attic. It’s always a bit sad when it’s time to put it away in January. Not being religious or consumption driven, this is our reason for the season!
It’s kind of like a cool family scrapbook. I didn’t write about a second tree I put up each year (though I didn’t this year because of the dog and lots of work projects). My second tree is antique silver and filled with vintage glass ornaments from my husband’s and my grandmothers. I know I have a picture somewhere but I couldn’t find it to post. It’s awesome.
When my mother left my step-father, she left just about everything behind, including the box of ornaments in the attic. I didn’t notice until Christmas came around, and that is what I miss the most. I remember asking my college friends to help with new ones, but only one person can through. I still smile every year when I see his ornaments, and I hang them on the tree with pride because they marked a new beginning. I agree completely that the ornaments are one of the best parts of the whole holiday. Merry Christmas.
We have so many now between the four of us that we don’t even put them all out every year. But it’s still fun to see them year after year. And I know I’d be heartbroken if one day they were lost too. But new memories are good, always good. Here’s to some great ones this year!
This post really captures the spirit of holidays. They remind me of us past joys with family and serve as a connection between the past and the future. I hope you enjoy the holiday and the ornaments continue to bring back good memories.
That’s exactly what it is, connection between past and future. Thanks, Larry.
You are very welcome.
What lovely sentiment. I have an ornament from my childhood too, precious, timeless, and full of happy memories of Christmas past. Sadly Christmases were different for my hubby, so we have made our own memories. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas.
And that’s great too, making new, sometimes happier, memories. It’s great that together you can change that for him. Hope it’s merry!
Thank you. We always seem to have a lot of fun anyway! Enjoy,
Yes, so many of the ornaments we hang are from our childhood family tree. One memory I have is that my dad used to go to the Halmark store and buy a bunch of them for us. So this year while I was moving our furniture to accommodate our tree there was a ball left from last year!!! It was a Halmark ball with the date of 1977 on it…. so sweet.
I love Christmas and I feel so fortunate that I have so many wonderful memories attached to it. Have a wonderful Holiday!
I didn’t know they made Hallmark ornaments back then! It’s those ’77 ornaments my kids make fun of, but I love them. They’ll understand when they are older. 😉
Holiday memories are the things that mean the most to us. I have tried to pass along some of these special traditions and some new ones to my kids and hope it will all mean as much to them when they grow up. My kids have some of those old ornaments hanging on their little trees and love to exchange gifts with each other – something they picked out themselves. The other night I saw the lighted Santa on the porch before crossing the bridge and couldn’t believe it. Memories of Christmas Eve and going to Grandma’s house, opening gifts with family, and looking for the Santa on the porch came flooding back. Another tradition that was dear to me, was Coleman’s Nursery all decorated for Christmas. There is an ornament for that memory too. This year when I tuck my sweet ones in bed on Christmas Eve, I will think of Christmases past and of listening for sleigh bells and reindeer on the roof and giggling with my sister. Merry Christmas!
But I bet you will get more sleep than we did back then–and be grateful for it! I can’t believe that Santa is still there.
My tree is definitely a collection of memories. Every year my husband and I buy a new ornament for each child. We always try to get one that represents a special memory for the year. The one for my youngest son this year is actually a cement truck because he LOVES cement trucks- he’s absolutely crazy about them and even at age three knows the names of many of the parts (drum, chute, etc.)…so we will always remember the year of the cement truck even if he grows out of the stage.
Yeah it’s fun to have those memories for the kids because they may not remember them all. “I liked cement trucks?” But he’ll really enjoy the stories behind it. That’s a great tradition.
My tree too is a collection of memories. But it has a double edge as time passes and so do people. Each ornament can bring a tear as easily as a smile.
Yeah, I find that as time passes though, the tears move on and the smiles return. I’m sure that will get harder as I get older.
What a lovely post! I do feel the same – every year as I get the boxes down from the upper shelf of the closet that is so hard to reach (cursing a little), and then open them, I am filled with childhood memories. Now I let my children choose one new ornament each every year, adding to the tradition.
We have so many special ornaments now that we can fill up two trees! Our own kids have been pumping out the ornaments at every library event, preschool class, and elementary grade for years! I guess maybe one day I’ll have to share and hand them over when the kids have houses of their own.
And won’t that tree look empty then? Maybe you can keep your favorites. 😉 We feel overloaded but it’s a fun way to count blessings.
Nice post! We collected ornaments that our kids made in school each year and labeled them accordingly. You’re right, each year when the tree is decorated the ornaments bring back many fond memories. It’s especially comforting today as the kids have grown up and somewhat started their own little traditions. But, we still have those memories 🙂
Thanks! The homemade ones are the best. My son made the cutest pickle when his class studied around-the-world traditions. Every year he gets so into hiding it in the tree. To someone else, a glob of clay may look like a mess, but to us it has many stories.
Our memory ornaments are are quickly being out numbered by all the ones they bring home from school and church. I might have to get them their own tree.
We do the same! I love decorating our tree and bringing back all those memories. My kids love some of the old ornaments because of the story that comes with them. Thanks for sharing!
Knowing I feel the same way about ornaments, my wife held up a set of ornamental ice skates and said, “these are going to have one of two different meanings. Either they’ll represent the wonderful time we had ice skating together in the city this year, or they’ll represent our failed attempt to find time for each other in between working and raising a family.”
It worked. We made time for skating 🙂
I think that was very clever of her! Glad it worked. Maybe that will become the tradition. You never know!
I’m sorry I missed this post. I didn’t put any of my special ornaments up this year and that’s kind of sad. Resolving to get an earlier start next year.
Happy New Year!
That will make them all the more special next year, having been a little longer seeing them. Sometimes it’s nice to mix things up a bit.
Hope it was happy!
What a great blog! We feel the same way in our house when we decorate our tree. The past comes rushing back! Thank you for sharing…
Thanks! It’s a nice way to wrap up a year, isn’t it?
That is part of the magic of Christmas, unwrapping all the decorations that you have treasured for years and every one of them telling a story. It’s like meeting old friends. I’m always sad when it’s time to put them away for another year.
I happened to see your blog looking through the recommended blog section, and I’m so glad I checked it out. This is what I want my house to be when my kids get older. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old girl, and life with the dynamic duo in my house is quite interesting let me tell ya. I had a pretty special Christmas this year because our 3 year old is enough to know what’s going on, so we blew it out of the park.
Thanks for stopping by! I tell you, I love older kids and life is good as they get older. I love having conversations with them and doing big-kid stuff. Both of mine have now learned about Santa so this year was the first year without it and it was still good. You have a lot of fun years ahead of you! Enjoy them! I feel like I have a lot of hormones ahead of me. 😉