Give tradition a try

 

Ok...so today I am going to climb up on my little soap box! And then I am going to treat you to lots of holiday eye candy!

I am hearing and seeing the words "go green" and "repurposing" and "recycle"  everywhere I turn this year.

All worthy pursuits to be sure, but instead of making or buying "green" ornaments or decorations every year, why not start creating lifelong traditions for you and your children by saving those treasures on your tree and using them again and again in the years to come? Children especially are delighted to see the same ornaments come out each year - it gives them a sense of continuity in their lives.

Why do we need a pink tree this year, a purple tree next year, and an all-white tree the next? Think about starting a family collection of ornaments this year. You don't have to start with a whole tree-full. Start with a few this year and add more every year.

Join me now on a little journey through my own Christmas treasures, saved and loved from year to year. The soldiers above are two of the first group of ornaments that started my collection in 1971, the year I discovered that there were ornaments in the world that didn't look even a little bit like glass balls!

My favorite angel...

Partrige in a pear tree...

And this gorgeous mushroom. (Because we always had mushrooms on the family tree when I was little!)

Aren't these lovely... German wood curl ornaments.

When my children were young, I would take them every July to the Christmas store and let them pick out an ornament to save for the tree - a sort of Christmas in July celebration. I always let them pick out the ornament, which led to some... well, let's just say interesting additions to my tree! When he was two, my son Michael fell in love with this pink dog. I just hated it. (I know. I know - you all just love him!!) Mike bit the foot off before we even got out of the store. But you know, over the years I have come to love this little guy. He lives on the front of the tree instead of the back (where I would always hang him) and... even though I have given my children all their ornaments to put on their own trees, I am NEVER giving up this little pink dog!!! Too many memories.

This handsome elephant was a gift from my Mother a few years ago. She gave each of her children an elephant that year. And the reason behind her gift...

 

This little fellow, who has been on her Christmas tree every year for almost 80 years. She couldn't say "elephant" when she was a little girl, so she called him "Oincey," and her mother kept the name. Now he is "Oincey" to Mother's children and grandchildren.

Mother has shared many of the old family ornaments with all of us. Don't you love this crinkly-wire covered ball?

Very vintage!

This red "pepper" has been around a long, long time. It is hanging next to a beautiful Unicorn made by my crafty daughter, Diane. And here are several more of my most treasured tree ornaments, which were made by Diane over the years.

Grade school gift...

She was into PC at the beginning of PC...

And she helped her little brother make this for me the same year. They have been on the tree a long, long time.

d

She was addicted to embroidery kits...

And she wrestled this needlepoint house kit into submission... never made another!

She made her fair share of "Diane originals" - this one was designed for her mother the cookie baker! I totally love my cookie baker bear!

She made this gorgeous Temari ornament for me before she started her crafty endeavors. I keep begging for samples, or prototypes of some of the baubles she crafts, but... they all go to publishers. What is that story about the cobbler's family having no shoes!

I discovered Mexican Paper Mache in the early 1980's. This bishop and wise man were the two I picked out from a collectiion of about 20 figurines. I really regret not getting all twenty. Haven't these weathered the years beautifully? Love the faces - can't put them on the tree without smiling. (And without thinking of all those others I left behind!) Sigh.

More Paper Mache from Mexico. This gorgeous Father Christmas was my tree topper for many years while I lived in San Diego, and was the inspiration for my collection of "Santas".

The Germans brought their Christmas traditions with them when they settled in Mexico and South America. Christmas trees with a Father Christmas at the top are a common decoration at Christmas time throughout Latin America.

Mexican punched tin has inspired me to learn to make punched tin objects like light shields and butterflies. (I am sharing the butterflies in a post next Summer.) I have been playing around with some three dimensional flowers - these are my prototype Fuschias. Still a work in progress, to be sure, but a part of every Christmas just the same. Someday I will perfect them...someday.

I threw this one in to make you jealous!!! It's a real Gumdrop tree from the 40's! It belonged to my Great Grandmother. I set it out every year. (The same Great Grandmother that made me a village every Christmas.)

I am noticing that so many of you are very excited about making ornaments this season. (Or, if you don't make them, there are so many lovely ones on Etsy.) Save your crafty treasures and share them with your children year after year. Start making Christmas traditions and memories that your children (and children's children) will cherish for years to come.

A picture of my two little friends, who make gingerbread houses with me every year.

Merry Christmas!

I was searching for German

I was searching for German wood curl ornaments and saw the pic of the ones you have. They are a childhood memory that just returned and I am wondering if you have any idea where I can purchase them, or how they can be made. I have memories of my grandfather's tree with them on his tree. Let me know if anyone knows where I can get them or how I can make them.

Dear Pam, The tree of my

Dear Pam, The tree of my childhood had that partridge in a pear tree ornament. I think my dad still has it (I sure hope he does!)...you are so right, renewing our acquaintance with old Christmas friends is far better than theme trees. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

I am in agreance! My family

I am in agreance! My family save ornimants every year! It got to the point as us kids got older, my mom let us decorate the tree.

Now I am married and have my own children. They are under the age of three.. .but for the past three Christmas I have been buying a new ornament to remind me what that child was like that year. I am happy I did that because when I pick the ornament out of the box this year, I had a note written on the back talking about how when he was 18months old he really liked balls and called them all footballs. It was a football ornament so I would never forget. :D

I also still have the handmade ornaments he made last year too!

Thanks for this wonderful post!

Tradition-y trees are by far

Tradition-y trees are by far the best kind. There are so many ways to acquire Christmas ornaments that are much more interesting than just getting a lot of boring ones that match. We don't really have a lot of handmade ones, but we do have some, and we still put up the little tinfoil bell that my now-23-year-old cousin made whens he was 3. Me and my brother have boxes of what are officially "our" ornaments, and I'm looking forward to having these ornaments that already have so many memories be the nucleus of my own ornament collection. (Plus along with all the angels and turtles I have a World's Largest Brat Fest ornament . . . I will have the best Christmas tree ever when I grow up.)

These are absolutely

These are absolutely enchanting!! I love your blog!!!

This made me all teary-eyed!

This made me all teary-eyed! I'm a firm believer in adding to my ornament collection every year. My tree is a total mishmash of ornaments in every color, material and theme. I love every one. (Even the ugly ones on the back of the tree! LOL!)

Ya to all the wonderful

Ya to all the wonderful pictures. My tree is not yet as wonderful as yours but I love visiting my MIL's tree, she has all of my husbands ornament from childhood. Every year she gives all of her grandchildren a beautiful Waterford ornament, which I know they will treasure when they are all grown up and starting their lives away from us. My mother dispersed most our holiday ornaments when she remarried and I only received a very few of them. Every year I spend a few minuted remembering my fav ornaments. I miss them so much that this year I actually re designed one like a paper ornament we made from a kit when I was a child. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Which one is Diane!? I'm

Which one is Diane!?

I'm simply a-flutter with curiosity . . . and I love seeing the ornaments she made as a kid!! Everyone's Mom should have a blog!

What a lovely post! Found you

What a lovely post! Found you through Diane, and so glad I did. I am trooping into the living room now to photograph my favorites from over the years.

I've always given my kids and grandchildren and parents an ornament every year, but I love your idea of a summer excursion to pick them out!

I agree with your comments.

I agree with your comments. We also keep the same ones from year to year and many of them were made my MIL and now my kids treasure them.

All your ornaments are gorgeous and ones I have never seen before. Except Father Christmas-we have that one also.

Hope you are feeling better.

Feliz Navidad!!

Is that Diane and Michael?!?

Is that Diane and Michael?!?

I'm with you! We save all our ornaments! Cathie's mom made these fabulous bead and ribbon ornaments that are just to die for. Then we have needlepointed ornaments and boxes and stuff animals and glass and all sorts of stuff and we can even take different ones out every year and every Christmas is different!

I am planning salt-dough ornaments this weekend, and I'm hoping to seal them properly and save them for years.

yay!

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