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Remembering Christmases past

There she is, in all her glory: This year’s Christmas tree is dressed at last.

Our 2012 tree. When I was little, I apparently called one of these "the Mister P."

Our 2012 tree. When I was little, I apparently called one of these “the Mister P.”

As crazy as it is to get everything done this time of year, decorating the tree is great fun and a welcome walk down memory lane.


I don’t do the tinsel and garland my mother used to arrange so meticulously — just white lights (NEVER colored, never blinking) and ornaments.

Each piece of tissue paper holds a piece of our family story. Even today, I like to try to guess which ornament I have in my hand as I unwrap it, just as I did when I was a kid.

Some of the highlights:

  • The angel I made in Sunday school from an empty toilet paper roll and construction paper. She is blonde with blue-eyes, as angels must necessarily be.
  • A red felt stocking minus the toe, chewed off by our dog, Tripper, many years ago. It’s got my name on it.
  • The religious icon Basil made in Sunday school; its hanger is a pop top.
  • The pine cone ornaments Catherine and I made when she was little. What fun we had collecting and crafting them. We made them as gifts for the special people we knew. I wonder if they still hang them.
  • A variety of Catherine-made ornaments, all coated several inches thick with glitter. The shiny stuff and pine needles are now duking it out on my floor.
  • The plastic “candy” ornaments my sister and I used to vie to hang.
  • A wonderful collection of ornaments handmade for us by my parents — soldiers and snowmen, Santas and reindeer, angels and animals.
  • A menagerie of postal-themed ornaments for Basil.
  • A whole host of ornaments we’ve collected from year to year, many of them as old as me, others more recent additions collected on family vacations or gifts from friends.
  • The icicles! I swear that despite my oh-so-careful removal efforts, the pile of them shrinks a little each year. These were Mom’s to hang. They always go on last.

Topping it all off is the angel my parents received as a wedding gift, now mine and only a little worse for wear (who knew a warm blue light bulb would warp her middle?).

It makes me smile to see each one.

What’s on your tree?


About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


7 thoughts on “Remembering Christmases past

  1. hi, i following the “thumping thursday” blog hop. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.


    new follower bev

    Posted by bev | December 20, 2012, 11:42 pm
  2. We put our tree up Thanksgiving Night. We have the colorful blinking lights that do various tempos based on the setting we select (the kids love it). We also have red ribbons, red & silver ornaments and the handcrafted ornaments from my children. My daughter has a pink construction paper ornament with her picture in it from Kindergarten (she’s in 7th now). I think the ones our children make are always the best.

    Posted by C Michelle Ramsey | December 20, 2012, 8:33 pm
  3. Very nice post. I also love looking at christmas past ordainments too.

    Posted by Deedra | December 20, 2012, 6:09 pm
  4. White lights, also never colored or blinking! As I have kids from 4 to 18 I am still in a 70% homemade ornaments. I hope to someday have the tree of my dreams all rustic and perfect, but I assume I’ll only them miss the handmade ones.

    Posted by Carrie | December 18, 2012, 1:20 pm
  5. We started putting up the tree tonight. I’m allergic to pines, so it’s fake, but so full of ornaments when it’s done that it doesn’t matter.

    Like yours, our tree is a memory book that comes out once a year. The glass bell that was my great-grandmother’s in Sweden, the plastic snowman whose back held a bunch of lollipops when I was about 4, Will’s tree made when he was 5 (a coathanger bent roughly into a tree shape, covered with green tissue paper and decorated with a gold bow — the paper’s now brown and has more scotch tape than tissue), Stine’s mimeo’ed and colored angel, all treasures that vie with fabulous handmade storybook ornaments, glass balls, birds, mushrooms. Garlands of Swedish, Danish and American flags, strings of silver beads. White lights — no colors, no blinking! — with Swedish candlelights that Bill’s mom gave us the first year we were married, glass and tin icicles. Some of the ornaments have seen better days, but it would be like losing an old friend to get rid of them.

    Color coordinated trees are pretty, but not for me. I have a small tree with Pixar ornaments on it — including photos of our grandkids (after all, their parents work for Pixar, so they are Pixar creations!). And another feather tree with tiny ornaments that got lost on the big tree. Even Molly and Jesse, my American Girl dolls, have their own tree.

    I was honored this year when Stine asked for silver beads for her tree so it would look like ours! That’s the ultimate compliment.

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | December 17, 2012, 11:02 pm

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