Some ornaments mean more than others, and some tell funny stories. There is one ornament that makes me laugh every year. When my son was a year old, his paternal great grandmother gave him an ornament for Christmas. It was a nice gesture, however this particular ornament had an owl sitting on top of an apple and the apple said “#1 Best Teacher”. She never really had an act for giving gifts. Bless her heart.
That same year, his mom mom also got him an ornament. I remember it being a snowman. After some moves, I ended up losing that ornament. To this day, I feel terrible about it, because it was his very first ornament. I knew deep down she was upset with me about losing it, but she still bought a replacement snowman ornament anyway. Every year, I still wonder about the wherebouts of that ornament. So, I guess in a way, we can say that it did do it’s job of taking place of the original.
My son’s collection of ornaments have grew since then. He now has many that showcase what characters and cartoons that he likes. One year, he got a Mr. Grinch ornament. The following year he got a Buzz Light Year ornament that has flashing lights on it. I remember fighting with him constantly to leave the ornament alone so he wouldn’t break it, even though I could understand the temptation. He did eventually break pieces off of it, but the flashing lights still continued to work every following year. This year it finally quit working. Then, the next year, he got Perry the Platypus ornament from the cartoon, Phineas and Ferb. That one was so heavy that it constantly fell off the branch. I must of glued his beak and tail back together 10 times. Honestly, I love looking at each of those ornaments and reminding myself about all of the characters that he once loved or still loves to this day.
Some ornaments don’t have as much meaning, because in the first couple years I never labeled anything. By not labeling them, they lost their meaning, memory and story. It’s truly unfortunate. Like this magenta train, I don’t remember the story behind it. All I can do is assume that it was special at one time.
Then, there are very special pieces that I love putting on our Tradition tree. Some of Tyler’s elementary artwork ornaments. Artwork like my son’s photo in the middle of a hand cutout wreath or his finger painted reindeer. I’ve always loved his artwork, but Christmas artwork ornaments are the best. It tells the story about his youth and each year we can reflect on those times as he continues to grow from them.
Some ornaments on our Tradition tree are from my youth as well or at least little things that remind me of it. The ornaments that remind me of my childhood were these tiny wooden pieces that were held by a gold wrapped string. My father put up this little tree every year. He always placed the tree on top of the big entertainment stand in the living room. There was nothing really particularly special about it, but I was always fascinated by the tiny wooden ornaments. They were so adorable with their quaint designs. I remember my mother always telling me to stop touching them, as I have told my son about his ornaments. Funny – I guess the ornament doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The other ornament from my childhood was my first very own ornament. This one is very bittersweet. My maternal grandmother gave it to me so many years ago. I use to love that ornament! It had a mouse resting by a fireplace. On the mantel was a book and a plate of cookies. As a child, I used to play with it and not really use it as an ornament. The unfortunate part is that my grandmother and I haven’t had a relationship for nearly 9 years. Throughout this time, I had misplaced the ornament…until this year. While my father put up his Christmas tree, a box of ornaments caught my eye. There it was just sitting on top of the pile of obsolete ornaments, now without the mouse and books, but covered with gold glitter. I took it as is, and placed it on our Tradition tree. Leaving it the way it is only symbolizes my childhood and the unforunate relationship between my grandmother and I.
Then, there are ornaments that symbolize a different type of relationship, such as friendship. We have ornaments from two Friendsgivings that we love to put up. Our first year, the kids painted on flat clear bulbs. My son painted his red. Then my son and his friend painted one together in blue and green. This year, the kids drew spirals inside round clear bulbs with different colored glitter glue. What some great Friendsgivings we’ve had!
Most of the time, ornaments consume of bulbs, lights and garland, which of course is pretty, but putting ornaments up that hold meaning makes that tree so much more special. It takes the commercial away from the tree and makes it what the holiday is truly about. Some ornaments hold memories that are fantastic, humorous and even sad. For instance, I have a couple angel ornaments of those who passed. Then there are ornaments that we generally like or symbolize our beliefs such as having a Jesus ornament, a “God Bless America” ornament, a fish, favorite football team and guitar. I will say that this maybe the oddest looking tree in the world, but to us it’s absolutely beautiful and remarkable. Through these ornaments, we get to see the story of our lives unfold and continuously expand. It gives us something to reflect on each year and to rekindle those memories. I am grateful for our little tree and I am proud of our story so far.