Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn or cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?
We did have some special glass ornaments on the tree when I was a child and also some hand-made decorations –probably like most kids at school, you come home with paper chains and the like. In particular we had a lovely china Christmas crèche which we set up with care each year, along with tinsel and streamers.
We have been collecting ornaments for our tree over the decades and with various household moves each year is a revelation when a remembered ornament is revisited on one of the other family trees. Over the years we’ve occasionally travelled overseas in the winter months (northern hemisphere) and brought back special decorations as reminders of where we’ve been. The most exciting was visiting the Christmas markets in Nürnberg (Nuremberg) with all the lights, gluhwein, and decorations…heavenly. Each of us is prone to buying ornaments for the others when travelling.. a family tradition I suppose. It’s a strange thing but I’ve always loved the heart-shaped decorations so common in Bavarian design…long before I knew of my own Bavarian ancestry.
But why is it that the one you love the most is bound to be the one that hits the tiled floor with a smash, or the one the cat most loves to pull off is your favourite? And then there are the ones that just get tattier each year until you just have to dispose of them…we’ve kept one or two of our very first decorations even though successive cats have done their best to shred them, and some of the children’s handmade items have just become too battered to put up.
We still have some Christmas ornaments our kids made decades ago including some crafty ones from The Gnomes Book of Christmas Craftswhich we spent time making one Xmas. Not to mention the year when it seemed half the neighbourhood children were on our family room floor making presents and decorations from Fymo. They had a fabulous time, and really the mess wasn’t that bad;-)
Decorating the tree is a family event – whoever is home participates (including the cat!) and we play carols while we’re setting it up. There’s a timeline issue too –bookmarked by birthdays….unless the cat is too persistent and there are more ornaments off the tree than on!