Sunday, December 05, 2010

My Favorite Ornaments

Decorating the tree is an event our family looks forward to every year. It's when we pull out the beat up box of ornaments and sort through our memories, picking and choosing which ones go towards the front and which ones are relegated the back of the tree.

When I was growing up my parents had a tradition of giving us an ornament every year, something to commemorate the past year. This meant that when I finally left home and began my own Christmas traditions I had enough ornaments to decorate a small tree. This also meant that once Wayne and I got married that my ornaments dominated our tree, something that was remedied by our doing this very same tradition for ourselves.

These are just a few of my favorites that bring back pleasant memories.

The music stand and the Coca-Cola ornaments. The first was from one of my high school years when I finally took a Class A saxophone solo to state competition and brought home a gold medal, along with a sundry of other medals. I was a first-class music geek, what can I say.

The Coca-Cola ornament was from the year I decided to get a degree in advertising. Mom couldn't think of an ornament that would be appropriate for advertising, and at the time the Coke/Pepsi war was big, with slogans and products everywhere. Her solution was to get a Coca-Cola ornament, because that represented advertising to her. I think of how hard she thought about and looked for these special ornaments throughout the years and I have a great appreciation for the effort she put into finding just the right one.

The moose ornaments are just a couple of many that I've gotten over the years from my dad. My dad's nickname for me is "Tootermoose," a name he made up that he started calling me when I was a kid. Nearly every year I can count on a moose making an appearance in a large box of gifts for my family from my dad. They make us all laugh every time.

And then there's the hand crafted ornament commemorating the fact that Lindsey was on her way. We had already been through two miscarriages and didn't tell my family we were expecting until Christmas when I was nearly 5 months along. Wayne bought the ornament and had it personalized long before Christmas so I could open it at my folks' house on Christmas Day. The purchase of this ornament was a leap of faith for both of us; it was a symbol of hope that perhaps this time we really would become parents. And miraculously enough, we did.

When I was a kid I used to look at the decked out trees at the store, the ones with every ornament being a part of a theme, matching in their design or colors. I used to tell myself that when I grew up I would have one of those pretty, matching trees, because our own was so junky looking, with a jumble of colors, shapes and sizes donning the branches.

The matching retail trees

The Floria-Horsman non-matching tree

Now, our tree is the hodgepodge tree, with ornaments in an array of colors: red or burgundy, green or white, porcelain or wood, golds or silvers.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Do you have a story about your favorite ornaments? Link up here to share!


  1. Seriously, who wants a Christmas tree that looks like it was stolen from Bachmans? Okay, maybe some of us would, but it wouldn't be a true Christmas tree to me.

  2. Love these stories, Jenny. And your baby to be one made me cry. Thanks for sharing.

    And please forgive me if I accidentally call you Tootermoose. Because I get that is totally inappropriate in a business setting ;)

  3. I'm with Elizabeth- those decked out matching trees hold no appeal to me, but the ones that are sagging with a lifetime of memories give me chills. There's history and tradition in so much holiday celebrating and looking over the Christmas tree, with it's wealth of memories and keepsakes is yet another wonderful tradition. Don't ever change that.

  4. Mismatched Trees are the best! Retails trees are boring with no memories, where as you have a tree full. =)

  5. Certain people have a variety of names. My daughters have had several over the years, Jenny originally was "the hop." She then became "tootermoose" and it is a special name for a special lady. Her sister Kristi had the name, "Dr. Goo-fee" then grew into Katfish Annie which was her initials on a sweater she had where the initials seem out of order. Regardless those are precious names for me because they represent a time and a place when we were a family. It is nice to see the tradition carried on and I much prefer the homemade tree, way to go tootermoose!!

  6. Hodgepodge is what the holidays are all about : )Bringing together traditions (and ornaments and decorations) and memories in a way that works for your family. That is family.

  7. Oh I love the baby one. So sweet. After losing so many babies myself, I know what a leap that is to tell the kids. I was 26 weeks before we told anyone with our baby.

    Love your ornaments and stories. So fun to meet you last night.

  8. I totally loved this. :)

    I especially love that your mom bought you ornaments that symbolized what you were doing in your life. Like the advertising = coke one. Awesome. :)

    I always wanted to have a fancy matching tree, too ~ and that's exactly what I did when I got my first apartment and bought my first round of ornaments.

    It only lasted a few years though ~ and now it's sprinkled with family ornaments. :) So - I have both.

  9. Great nickname! ;)

    Love seeing all these - what a sweet peek into your life!

  10. Oh,I am tearing up after reading the story about your Great Expectations ornament. Beautiful!

  11. I'm a big fan of mismatched ornaments myself. It is really Christmas then!

  12. I love your hodgepodge tree! I think those are the best because they are filled with memories! And your baby ornament must be such a special memory for you.

  13. Sniff, sniff. No! I'm not going to cry, dammit! Wait, wait, here it comes . . . waaaahhhhhh!! Love you and all the memories! I still have the telephone from the time I was an operator after college.

  14. I completely agree on the hodgepodge tree! It's a totally better way to express who you are as a growing family.