Hallmark doesn’t hang on our tree. Besides the lights (hubby loves multi-colored!) and a bead garland, nearly everything is handmade, either by a family member or an artisan one of us found at a craft faire or artist cooperative.
Choirs of angels hang from the tree, walls, and window frames. These have been made from macaroni, silk roses, pop cans, twine, lace, and dozens of other types of materials. The baby angel in the center has a body made of a jingle bell.
Some other favorites remind me of specific years. My son made the origami crane when he was thirteen and broke his leg in a snowboarding accident (it was the skier’s fault!) mere weeks before Christmas. He made origami jumping frogs for all his little cousins, then levered himself onto the floor to watch the frog races. He also made origami irises for his grandmothers that year. Those irises took many hours each.
My daughter made the little walnut shell mangers one year, also making one for each little cousin. Inside each walnut half she tucked a bead head, some yarn for the straw, then a bit of stuffing with a Christmassy ‘blanket’ to cover the Baby Jesus’s body.
I made the puzzle piece snowmen for gift tags from a thrift store puzzle. I hate doing puzzles so looked in all the boxes until I found one someone had just folded up and reboxed. Perfect for me! I separated it into sections of three, and glued a piece of popsicle stick on the back. A can of white spray paint, a few pompoms, some ribbon, and a little paint made the job easy from there. Way too much fun! (Sorry for the photo quality–my good camera’s lens broke and I’m making do with one that doesn’t focus well. My tree isn’t up yet, so I hung my ornaments on the juniper hedge for these photos!)
Decorating our house for Christmas usually happens the first weekend of December, and our fresh-cut tree comes in a week or two later when we get a chance to go out in the mountains to cut one. Our trees may not look as bushy as a fake or as perfect as a cultured tree, but they’re usually a few steps above a Charlie Brown tree.
We often seek out handmade ornaments when we’re traveling. The tree and moose metal cutout reminds us of our cruise to Alaska last year, while the ship’s wheel is from an earlier vacation at Lake Tahoe. With sisters who’ve served as overseas missionaries, the bilim bag from Papua New Guinea and the wee llama from Bolivia share treasured spots.
Our tree is full of memories of family, memories of vacations, memories of time spent together.
Check out some of the other entries in the Jolly Daze 4 U & Me meme at Patty Wysong’s blog. What special memories do your Christmas ornaments hold?