A Journey Through Ornaments

Confession: Sometimes I have Christmas tree envy. I see these beautifully decorated trees in holiday movies or in my neighbors’ homes, and I wonder why our tree isn’t like that—in which I mean artfully styled.

For example, who wouldn’t want this cozy tree decked in knitted creations?

We recently added a gnome to our ornament collection. A warm welcome to our Gnome Sweet Gnome. We bought this guy at a local event, and proceeds went to a local hospital.

Yes, there is a paper “light bulb” right next to him.

When I hung him up, I realized that we almost never buy our ornaments. Instead, we’ve made or been given our decorations. Our ornaments are a mishmash of objects.

I wish I could find a coherent theme to them. What I’ve discovered instead is that they’re all markers of relationships. Join me on a brief journey through my ornaments!

Family First:

Reindeer.  Our tree holds lovely creations like these from our kids. Even though they’re often crooked or quirky, I can’t bear to throw them out. They’re reminders of days and school grades gone by.

Chows. One year, I had this great idea of unifying our ornaments by buying plain glass ones. Each member of the family would then decorate their own by using their artistic talent. (Note that only one has survived throughout the years!)

Christmas tree. This cute wooden ornament was gifted to us by my brother. It’s actually in support of his friend who handcrafts these wooden pieces.

Friends Next:

Wreath book. We got this tiny wreath and book combo during the preschool years. One of the classmates gave this precious board book to every single student in class. So generous!

Coffee cup. I feel like this also came with an accompanying gift card, but I can’t quite recall. What I do know is that it’s from a writing buddy whom I met up with at coffee shops.

Believe. This was my giveaway win, crafted by a fellow author. It’s a teeny blank notebook. I was excited about this ornament because I rarely win anything. (As an aside, I must have passed this trait down to my older daughter. She entered one raffle with over 50% chance of winning. Readers, she did not get that prize.)

Thanks for coming along this journey with me!

I may have a tree with clashing ornaments, but they all remind me of valuable experiences and relationships. Happy holidays to all!


Share about a prized ornament or memory from years past.  

32 thoughts on “A Journey Through Ornaments

  1. My mom gave me some of the ornaments that they had for their first Christmas tree and I treasure them. I also have all the ones my son made when he was in grade school such as a reindeer made with mini clothes pins.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The passing down of ornaments from generation to generation is so beautiful. My grandpa had these amazing and delicate painted ornaments–I wonder where they went because they didn’t get passed down to me.

      And I remember making a clothes pin reindeer myself!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jen! We have a lot of special ornaments from when the kids were little. Now that they’re older, the ornaments carry lots of special memories. 🌲

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jen, loved seeing your family ornaments! The ones with special meanings are priceless. We are trimming our tree right now and it’s filling up fast with Ornaments Past. The family is coming for Christmas this year, and one of the best parts is when the kids point out their favorites and tell their kids the stories behind them. (My son hates one featuring his 4th grade school photo with an unfortunate haircut, and he hides it each year.) Of course, I have my parents’ ornaments too. My favorite is Gumdrop Man, an odd, bright pink, sugary looking Michelin-type guy that my mom touched from an overhead beam in a fancy store. It was how I learned the meaning of “You Break It, You’ve Bought It.” We glued him up and he has been with us for almost 60 years. Every year I gleefully reminded Mom that she ignored the “Do Not Touch” sign. (I still do.)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You have a theme. It is the same as mine – eclectic. Yes, I have Hallmark ornaments, but I have tons of ornaments I’ve gotten from friends or that I’ve bought on vacations. Some my parents bought for me on family trips. So there are lots of memories on my tree. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How wonderful that your ornaments have meaning, Jennifer. I have some clothes-pin toy soldiers that my mother made before she passed on. I also have a red-haired Viking ornament that looks amazingly like my son.

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  6. My favorite ornaments are absolutely the ones from my childhood, in particular, the Santa Claus crafted from red tissue paper, cotton, and a wooden spoon that I made with my brothers’ Cub Scout pack. (Each mom had to host one month of meetings at her house, and mine always took December so she could have the boys make ornaments. And since I lived there, I got to be an honorary Cub Scout once a year.)

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  7. Jen, these ornaments are wonderful! I want one of the wooden ones.

    I collect them and have been since I was a teenager, so I have so many boxes it’s ridiculous. Especially since I basically can fill the tree with ornaments I’ve made myself. There are too many meaningful ones to mention, but I particularly love ornaments that belonged to my parents and are close to 70 years old. We also have one from my husband’s side of the family that dates back to 1926! It’s both fragile and sturdy and it’s the first ornament I put on the tree every year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now I’m curious about how many boxes of ornaments you have, El!

      You’re so crafty that, of course, you would have made a lot yourself. I love how you have meaningful ones that are close to 70 years old–that’s amazing! I’m wondering if we have a usual first ornament, but I don’t think so. The last one is the topper, though: a golden star.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When I put up the tree, it is seriously lopsided. Because I have themes of ornaments.
    Homemade.
    Twas the night before Christmas
    Sur la table cooking
    The 12 days of Christmas.
    White House ornaments.
    So it definitely looks weird, but seriously homey

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I always put 5 glass lanterns on the tree that were my mom’s. But when the grandchildren started arriving, I started adding photo ornaments. I add one for each grandchild each year and will keep adding one for each every year until they move out on their own or get married. We have 5 grand kids. I just gave the oldest her ornaments when she got married last year. The next oldest is 20 and in college, the next 2 are 17 and in high school. The little one is 8. They love to come on Christmas and find their newest ornaments. I love the tradition. I kind of hope they never leave home. I love seeing how they have grown through the years when decorating the tree.
    Carol

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  10. My first child was born in late October, so when people came to visit her, Christmas ornaments were the baby gift du jour. Every year, I’d pick a theme based on something that happened that year and get all three kids something to commemorate it. And we always bought ornaments when we traveled as a reminder of the place. Plus, they always got a Hallmark ornament with their age from their grandma. As they have houses and trees of their own to decorate now, they all have their collections of ornaments and hubs and I are back with the ones we made when we were just out of college and poor as church mice, and from our travels without the kids. Each bauble tells a story.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wait a minute. I don’t think I ever got ornaments as a baby gift.

      The idea of getting ornaments to coincide with something that happened that year or for travels resonates with me.

      And I want to see pics of those ornaments from when you were right out of college!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hubs worked at a printshop, so they were all made out of expensive paper. Pinwheels with a brad in the middle. Doves that sat on the branches. Candy canes. A paper chain that didn’t survive long. You get the idea!

        Like

  11. Aw, I love these meaningful ornaments, Jen! What a beautiful way to celebrate the people and events in your life. ❤

    It's probably no surprise that my favorite ornaments are those created by my kiddos. There are some that are completely unidentifiable. I always used my mom's tactic to uncover their inspiration. (She was a grade school teacher.) "Tell me a story about this!"

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Lovely post, Jen! We have lots of ornaments we’ve collected as souvenirs, and many that were gifts from friends. We have a needlepoint J & V that my roommate gave us as a wedding gift. It’s always nice to remember friends we haven’t seen in a long time as we decorate the tree!

    Liked by 1 person

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