Monday, November 27, 2017

Ornaments of Christmas Past ... and Present


Christmas has always been a favorite time of the year for me. Growing up my family didn’t decorate and we never had a real tree, but I always gravitated to books and movies and really all stories that illustrated the “Magic of Christmas”. When I went away for college and living by myself, I was determined “do Christmas right”, making my own ornaments and decorating, even though I’d be back home for the winter break.

Early on I had a real love for A Charles Dickens type Christmas with lace ornaments and glittery red, white and gold ornaments, and just Victorian-era in general, so that’s what I gravitated toward when looking for ideas. I wanted them to look “real” not like I’d made them at some kiddie craft table, so I searched for all kinds of inspiration and tried to recreate ones I’d seen.

My great grandmother was a crafter in every sense of the word- sewing, crocheting, and more. A few years after I went away for college, my mom slowly started to give me ornaments from when I was younger, and after both my brother and I married our respective spouses, she gave us a box with our ornaments. We didn’t have a lot of things we’d made as kids; in fact, I don’t really remember making ornaments or anything in school. Mostly, the ornaments my mom gave us were ones that my great grandmother had made us and any ceramic ornament that had survived all the moves and storage (my mom went through a ceramic phase that was actually quite a few years long).

From there I continued to make ornaments, trying to make a new set each year, but some years it didn’t happen. During one of his first deployments, I discovered a cross stitch group online, that year there was a Christmas ornament exchange or secret sister or something and I got two beautiful Christmas ornaments, a cross stitched Old World Santa and a hand-painted snowman on a wooden star. I treasure those to this day because that group helped me keep my sanity during those year-long separations from my husband. That was also the start of The Teacup Cottage Blog and where I met Meari at Meari’s Musings, who blog I still stalk, though I haven’t been able to converse with her as much as I did 10 or 12 years ago. I think our last project “together” was an Ornament Stitch-A-Long in 2011 or something.

Well, those first years of marriage my husband was really supportive of my fancy Christmas tree, and by support I mean he didn’t have a concern one way or another. I don’t really think it mattered much until our son was born, that was really when everything changed.

When he was 2 years old, we started to get real trees. No more fake tree for us. That first year we had a real tree, my we got it at a local nursery or something. My husband was leaving for Korea and we had just moved back home to Houston. After he returned from Korea he searched and found a Christmas tree farm near the old house, and when we moved in May 2016, we were even closer to the Christmas Tree Farm, so it has been a “Day After Thanksgiving” tradition ever since.

 Since returning home to Houston, he has also been truly excited about decorating the house for Christmas (even though Halloween is his favorite holiday). Since moving to our “forever home” in 2016 he has really gotten excited about decor both inside and out. Our son, however, only gets excited once its done.

Our Christmas ornaments transitioned at the same time at the fake/real tree transition. It went from beautiful ornate ornaments, to one-of-a-kind, homemade ornaments as my husband and I integrated our childhood ornaments with our son’s ornaments and along the way (as you can see in previous blog posts), we’ve made some homemade versions to add as well. We also have quite the collection of ornaments from our many adventures, lots of Disney, a San Jacinto monument ornament, and a Boy Scout Fleur-de-lis to name a few.   We also still have remnants of the older ornaments I’d made: one of 8 lace ornaments remains, a few golden painted glass Christmas ornaments, and those red/gold and white/gold ones seems to be in abundance.

I am excited to see how our tree and decorations continue to evolve over the next few years as we navigate our way into the pre-teen, then teenage years. I’m sure the days of getting those homemade Christmas ornaments are numbered, but for now, we’ll treasure each one as if were given to us by the Queen of England.

This year, as I sit in the dark each night next to the lighted tree while the rest of the house is dark and settling in for the night, I think about the events surrounding each of those precious ornaments and the memories they carry. It's the perfect ending to the day and I'll be sad when it's time to box them up once again.

Until next time, stay #creativelyinspired!


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