Friday, December 9

Ornamental Memories

The Word Wranglers have been talking Christmas this week, and I’m happy to keep the festive discussion going… and even include my own little giveaway! After all, if this isn’t the season for giving, what is?

This week, my family has slowly decorated our Christmas Tree, the center of our holiday cheer. One small fact has hindered our progress: we have two cats. Last year, as wee kittens, Jake and Sugar claimed the under-tree area as their own for frolicking. And they nibbled at the wires on the lights. To deter any unwanted wire-chewing (and subsequent kitty-electrifying) this year, we ordered a bottle of apple bitter spray, which took its sweet time arriving. Meanwhile, the bare and lonely tree stood in a dark corner of our living room.

Once we were able to apply the apple bitter to the wire (our first-born child offered to taste-test the stuff. And yes, I got the hilarious results on video!), the lights were meticulously placed among the branches of our tree. The dark corner of the living room is dark no longer, and the cats have once again claimed the under-tree area as their own. I think they like the ambiance of the tiny colored lights, and I have to agree with them: a Christmas Tree is one of the most magical symbols of the season for me. Bright lights, memories old and new, and something different to catch your eye each time you look.

Jake, under the bare tree. "Mom, where
are the lights for me to chew on?"
Tonight, we’ll be able to hang the ornaments… well, the non-breakable ones at the very least! This is a family task which we all enjoy. We pull the ornaments out, ooh and ahhh over them, and talk about them… where they came from, who gave them to us, what event they represent, etc. Our Christmas tree quickly evolves into a thing of magical, twinkling beauty.

Because my family is just now getting around to hanging ornaments, I thought I’d talk about my favorite ornament and then ask all of you to share the details of your favorite ornament (for a chance at a prize. Hmmm, probably an ornament!). I still want to hear about your favorite ornament, and I’m still going to give a prize… but deciding which ornament is my personal favorite is much more challenging. After all, except for when I was a young adult with my first tree and nothing to put on it, I don’t buy ornaments just because they’re pretty. I buy ornaments – for my family and myself – for a reason, to symbolize a memory. For example, I buy the kiddos an ornament to represent something they did that year. Played basketball? Yep, got that ornament. Saw the NYC Rockets? Yep, got that one. Disney World? Yep, mouse-ear ornaments all-around. So, how can I weed through my memories and pick the most important/meaningful one?


Answer: I can’t. And I won’t. I’m the one writing the blog, so I get to talk about a few of my favs. Maybe that’s cheating, but I call it creative license. Here are my favorite ornaments:

The annual kid-pics. Okay, that’s way more than one ornament, but it’s just one theme. Each year, I put a picture of each of the kiddos in an ornament frame (thank you, Michael’s, for always having a wide selection). As we pull the ornaments from their boxes and hang them on the tree, I get to walk down memory lane and watch them grow all over again. And it’s especially fun when I don’t pull the ornaments out in chronological order!

The Depression Bell. I have one fragile glass ornament left-over from a distant family member who lived through the Depression era. Knowing I’m an absolute clutz, I am terrified every time I hold it, afraid it will shatter and the remnant of a bygone time will itself be bygone. However, each year the little pink -and clear-glass bell-shaped ornament proves to me that you can be beautiful and delicate, and still be a survivor.

The black bear. It’s one I gave my hubby several years ago. The short story is: I once saw a large critter climbing our front yard tree and yelled to him that we had a baby black bear in our tree and the mom was going to be really mad! He scoffed, which wasn't a very nice thing to do, but it turned out the critter was just a furry barn cat from next door. Silly me. But now, each year when I find the perfect spot for the ornament, I turn to my hubby and declare with joy “Oh, no, there’s a baby black bear in our tree!”

I could go on and on, as each ornament is its own mini-time capsule. But for now, I’m going to hand the theme over to you (and I’ll announce the winner next week). What’s your favorite ornament?

12 comments:

  1. Jake looks adorable, and I love your ornaments. I'm with you on "a few," only sometimes I think--since I'm older--my few is a multitude. Love your post.

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  2. I have a lot of nostalgic ones, but I think my fave is a gold nativity ornament my hubby bought for our 1st Christmas together. We'd bought our tree for $20, and had found this $2 ornament at a gas station. It and a clip-on Santa were the only ornaments on that tree until my mother gave me an entire box full of my childhood ornaments from our family Christmas tree.

    My tree isn't a beautiful one, full of single-colored balls; it's full of family history. Paper angels made in kindergarten with my kids' faces on them; ornaments from places we've been (like the moose from Yellowstone!); and those to commemorate special events, like the champagne bottle from Y2K and the gold key 'our new home' one.

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    1. Those "Better Home & Garden" Christmas trees sure are nice to look at, but I would trade all the nostalgia and kiddo's handmade ornaments for the world! Thanks for sharing yours!

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    2. Molly - I'm late in picking my "winner" for this post, but it's you!! Please email me your address so I can send your little gift! (ava.cuvay@yahoo.com). Thanks and congrats!

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  3. Our tree is a random assortment of old and new, multi-colored lights, paper things bebe has made...and every year a different ornament becomes my favorite. Great post, Ava!

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    1. I LOVE all the ornaments the kiddos have made over the years... Unfortunately I didn't do a very good job of notating which kiddo did which ornament, and when! :-(

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  4. What a great post, Ava, and Jake looks like a Christmas card! What a sweetie!! I have so many ornaments I love, but probably my favorite is a sterling silver angel that my sister Pam gave me--I love it so much that I never tuck it away after the holiday, but rather hang it on my mantel to enjoy all year round!

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    1. That's not just an ornament... it's a guardian angel! :-)

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  5. My dog likes to go under the tree, but she's way too big for that. I'm afraid she's going to upset the tree, but at least she doesn't chew the wires!

    Some of my favorite ornaments are ones my grandmother made with egg cartons, pipe cleaners and glitter many years ago. They always remind me of her.

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    1. How precious! My grandmother always had egg cartons and craft stuff for me, but she never made anything with them herself.

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  6. My Darling Child. I have the same ornament. I came from my Mother, Grace LeMarion, your Grandmother and she bought it the first year she was married. 1938. I also have only one and it is indeed most precious. But, she would say not to fret if it breaks and to just remember all the many Christmas trees it has adorned. I love you!

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  7. mine would be an owl I just love it, I don't know how to send a picture here but I do have it on my face book page,
    Penney

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