Thursday, December 5, 2013

FTSF6: Christmas Ornaments

I believe I've mentioned before how much I loved decorating for the season when I was a child. Then, I got busy working and parenting and kind of lost my energy for it. Then, I became a SAHM and rediscovered the fun.

I've been putting up Christmas decorations in brief bits of time this week (it's been a pretty crazy week around here), but we haven't got the tree up yet. This is not OK in my book. I agree you should wait until after Thanksgiving, but I want the tree up the day after. Of all stupid things, the Christmas tree lot near our house doesn't open until tomorrow. So I've spent the week grumbling under my breath about how people in Maryland don't understand how things work.

Anyhow, favorite childhood memory encompasses a lot, but since it's Christmas tree season, I'm going with decorating the tree.

First, set the mood: one decorates the Christmas tree with The Nutcracker playing in the background. That's the way it's supposed to be done, folks. Link here in case you'd like to listen to it now.

Then, the most spatially adept person puts on the lights. Sadly, in my family, that's me. But, growing up, it was my dad.

Then, the fun. In my family, you dashed for you favorite ornaments and made sure to hang them as prominently as possible. The plastic white stag, the shiny red Santa, the ancient green elf, the flimsy paper baby carriage, the 2nd grade picture of my brother in red and green yarn frame I made? These achieved places of honor at the top front of the tree. Rather than being valued for freshness or beauty, they were beloved because they were old and ugly and someone sometime suggested that
they be pitched.


No. Way.

To punish that person for suggesting such an atrocity, those ornaments would hang front and center for everyone to see.

Clearly, we didn't go in for themed, trendy tree decor. Unless the theme was old family favorites.

But in addition to those favorites, there were the felt Disney characters my grandmother made, the wooden ones my parents painted their first Christmas together, the unbelievable multitude of
engraved brass ornaments my great aunt sent each of us every Christmas and countless,  and countless, countless others. They never all make it on to the tree.

If you planned in advance, which I often forgot to do, you took a really good ornament and hung it on the tree in a kind of hidden area to prepare for the post-decorating game.

Because when it was all done, it was time to play the find-the-ornament game.
"Who can find the hippo with the tennis racket?"

"How about the dog in the blue overalls?"
If you were clever enough to have placed some of your ornaments carefully, you could really challenge your family members. And in my family of origin, challenging the other members is always a goal.
Not to hard to spot that photo of my brother, but how about the white stag, the baby carriage, the shiny red Santa, or the dog in blue overalls?

Last Thanksgiving, we were visiting my parents at their home. Since we didn't have a home of our own at that time, my mother suggested we help decorate the tree at their house. It made me teary to see all those old ornaments and remember all those fun times. I took the pictures in this post and sent them to my siblings with the caption, "Old friends."

But the most fun was this:


Linking up with the FTSF ladies, Janine, Kristi, Stephanie and Kate.


19 comments :

  1. I loved decorating the tree with my parents and family as a kid. And we too had tons of sentimental ornaments that were passed down from generations. Still get a bit misty eyed thinking about it. So, your post definitely brought me back and thank you for sharing tonight!! :)

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    1. Thanks as always, Janine. Love your link-up!

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  2. We usually decorate the tree this past weekend and didn't as I've been figuring out surgery and bleh but OMG the vdecorating is one of my favorite things, too!!! I'm tempted to do it now (for real) because awesome!!!

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  3. I love decorating the tree. Tonight I wanted to take a picture of Darth Vader before he devoured our tree (according to my husband that will happen) and it took me forever. So when you mentioned that game, I realized that would be a lot of fun at our house. We have so many ornaments, we should play that! Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories!

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    1. Yeah, it's a fun game. We have our tree up on a table this year to keep it from our youngest. That work somewhat.

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  4. This sounds so much like our family trees - my bloggy friend May calls it a tree that reflects a life well lived. I like that. We have those old falling apart grade school ornaments with second grade photos and a few sad looking sequins, homemade specialties from family, gifts from my Mom's every year tradition of gifting us an ornament that somehow reflects us or our life in that year...and so many more. It's fun to remember the origins of the ornaments. I love your game ideas - just may try that when we decorate! That would be so much fun here with Kidzilla old enough to really get involved. Thanks!

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    1. That is a wonderful quote, Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Love that last picture. So sweet!!! Putting up the lights is my least favorite part. It gets fun after that. I like that un-decorating game. I'm going to keep that in mind. We had some things that are the same but there's some one of a kinds in there as well.

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    1. Yeah, putting up the lights is like prepping for a painting job. Then comes the fun.

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  6. Very clever way of getting everyone to help disassemble the tree! ;) Similarly to Lisa above, my Mom would get us each an ornament every X-Mass. I have carried on the tradition with my nephews, trying to memorialize things going on in their lives each year - ornaments reflecting trips taken, a marriage, etc. Hopefully they'll carry on the tradition with their own kids. It's a great way to get them started with their own supply of ornaments in addition to the memories they carry.

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    1. It would be a great idea for disassembling the tree, but we actually play right after decorating. I like a buy a new ornament each year for our tree, but this year, I am going to try to make one.

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  7. I love it when you write about our family :)

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  8. Oh, this makes me ache with nostalgia! You and I share similar tree philosophies, for sure! I have a handful of my childhood favorites that NOBODY but me is allowed to hang. Naturally, they are displayed prominently on the tree in places of great honor. I adored the photos of your ornaments. Like, they gave me shivers. And Okoboji??? Seriously???

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    1. I love it when I find an Okoboji connection (obviously--I got really excited). I once met a couple in Kuala Lumpur who vacationed there. That's not as exciting once you know the couple were Iowans, but still. KL?

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  9. OOoooooh I LOVE this. I didn't show my ornaments, but I'm 100% with you on how important this is :)

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  10. Our tree sounds a lot like yours. The most beautiful kind! :)

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