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December 12, 2010

If Christmas Ornaments Could Talk...

‘Tis the season of many holiday traditions. And a quick pass through the blogosphere reveals that many families share one of my favorite parts of the season, that of getting a new ornament to mark the year.

While I’ve continued to collect an ornament each year, my hubby and I haven’t actually put up a tree in about 10 years. We were afraid of our kitties’ “interaction” with the tree, and we were always out of town, so we rationalized it wasn’t worth the time, effort, and stress.

This year, we’re staying home for the holidays. We’re so excited to spend this time as a family of four…and to finally be putting up a tree! (I did invest in a new artificial tree. There have been a lot of technological advancements in the last 10 years…I had no idea pre-lit trees actually come with a remote control!)

After 10 years, it was like Christmas morning – no pun intended – opening my ornament collection. Amid the ornaments I made in grade school and those I’ve amassed from my various travels, the pride of my collection are 22 sterling silver bells.

Each year my grandparents gave me a jingle bell for Christmas, always engraved “Love Nan and Pop”. I remember not really appreciating them until I was a little older, maybe even having rolled my eyes as an eight-year old that would have rather had a new Barbie doll. But now, I wouldn’t take anything for them.

Of course I don’t remember getting the first bell, and although the engraved message is the same, I have no idea why it is different from the rest. It’s a dome-shaped bell with a music box in it. It plays the most beautiful, delicate, “tinkle-y” version of “Jingle Bells”…the sound of the holidays to this mama's ears.

When I take it out of its original box, I can almost smell Christmas Eve at my Nan’s house. And while 10 years ago I changed the ribbons on all the other bells to a classic maroon satin ribbon, I couldn’t bring myself to cut the original fuzzy knit ribbon from that first bell, my favorite. I’m sure it was the same ribbon with which many a pigtail was tied when I was a little girl.

When my hubby and I got married, we started our own tradition of engraved ornaments. And like the bells from my childhood, the first year of our marriage is marked by a special ornament, an ornate tiered wedding cake engraved with our anniversary date.

And of course when the girls were born, we started collections for them. Their first year ornaments are baby shoes, engraved with their full names and birth statistics.

I know part of most families’ ornament traditions is that, when the children grow up to start families of their own, they’ll leave with a great start to decorating their trees. Even beginning to think that far ahead makes me start to hyperventilate…so for a long time to come we’ll enjoy adding ornaments for each of the girls to our tree every year.

I love ornaments that tell a story, and I’d love to hear yours! I’ll leave this link open through Friday, December 17th. I can’t wait to read the tales of your Christmas tree.

Thanks to Andrea of The Mays Twins blog for giving me the idea for this post. Her boy/girl twins are about a year older than A and B. Not only do she and I have some of the same germophobic / gotta-get-the-perfect-picture tendencies, but I love getting a glimpse into the future, seeing what she and her kiddos are up to.


Helene said...

I love this idea! I'll definitely try to link up some time this week!

We got an artificial tree like 4 years ago, I think. Ours is pre-lit but it doesn't have a remote...I think we may need to get a new one next year...LOL!!!

I know, it's hard to imagine 20+ years from now when our kids will have trees of their own.

Kate Pantier @ Mommy Monologues said...

I'm linked up and I'm the first yay!

Can't wait to tweet about it tomorrow (today-stayed up waaaay too late tonight!!!)

Andrea said...

Thanks so much Mandy for hosting this link post. I loved hearing your about your memories around the Christmas tree. I consider it a honor that you mentioned me in this post. I love that there is someone out there that can relate to my tendencies. Andrea

MultipleMum said...

I will have to pull something together this week! It may require photography and that is scary for me. BTW how did you get your blog name on your pic?

Rebecca said...

Those are gorgeous! I'm going to link up, but I have to get my a$$ in gear and take some pictures!

Julia said...

My mom gave us an ornament every year growing up, and, actually, she still does. I love that! Every year I open the box with the ornaments, it's like unlocking memories. I can't wait to institute that with the girls for their first Christmas :)

Unknown said...

I love the silver bells idea. How sweet! :)

Quadmama said...

I haven't been as good as my mom was at the yearly ornament tradition. I just can't find a lot of ornaments that I like these days.
(We have a pre-lit tree, but no remote. I want one!)

SouthernDogwoods said...

What great memories behind each ornament! I love this post - thanks for hosting it!

Mandy said...

I soo cannot wait to link up. I HAVE to decorate the tree tonight!!!

Megan said...

Love this idea! And those silver bell ornaments are beautiful.

Unknown said...

I've seen this pop up on a couple blogs and been wanting to join in...finally working on a post and will link in soon!

I like the idea of the engraved ornaments - no wondering what year, whose it is, etc! ha!

Amanda said...

Adorable ornaments! I finally linked up mine...and the sheer thought of preschool makes me hyperventilate, let alone them being old enough to have their own tree!