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    « One-word Wednesday: Posers | Main | Blessing the Boats, plus the GRAND Social »

    Ornaments of Christmases past

    At tree-trimming time every Christmas, I gave each of my three daughters a new ornament, beginning when they were all still quite small. Some years the ornaments given reflected a passion or hobby of each individual girl; other years, all three received similar ornaments with only a slight variation on a common theme. Every year, all were dated and hung upon the family tree.

    With three new ornaments added for the girls each year plus a new one for Jim and myself annually, too, our Christmas tree became jam-packed with ornaments by the time the girls were ready to leave the nest. The paring down of the baubles was far more abrupt than the collecting. First it was Megan's collection that we wrapped up and sent with her once she became a newlywed. Next, Andrea moved up and out and on, taking her ornaments with her. Then, just a few years ago, Brianna and her seasonal stash found a new home, as well.

    Now that Jim and I decorate our tree with many old ornaments of our own, plus nearly just as many new ornaments to take the place of those relocated to our daughters' Christmas trees, it's been especially heartwarming this past week while visiting my grandsons to see many of the familiar ornaments of Christmases past hanging on Megan's tree. Not only those I had given her through the years, but ones she had made herself or received from others, too.


    Equally heartwarming to see hung in a place of prominence at Megan's house was an advent calendar I had made for my daughters many years ago, now providing a chocolate-y countdown to Christmas for my grandsons.

    It's bittersweet to see old, familiar seasonal decor adorning a home so far removed from mine, in years and in geography. Every once in a while during this visit, I've been hit with the overwhelming realization that things will never go back to what they were, that time has indeed ticked along, those days are gone, and this is where we as a family are, what we will be from now on. Not that I didn't realize that—or be okay with that—already, but the confirmation of such sometimes comes in unexpected and occasionally uncomfortable waves. No more kids' ornaments hanging on the tree was and is just the beginning...and the end.

    That serves as the bitter. The sweet? Seeing the enjoyment my grandsons now get pulling foiled Santas and chocolate balls from the very same crudely numbered pockets their mom and aunts once did, counting the days until Santa's arrival. Days that to a child move far too slowly. Days that to a mom—and now a grandma— moved far too fast and somehow, without proper notice, became years.

    Today's question:

    What holiday ornaments have you passed down to your children?

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    Reader Comments (11)

    My oldest daughter had a musical Christmas train that is now at her house with her family. Even though the music was sort of annoying at times I miss that train, but it is in it's right place now.

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanie

    I must admit that ornaments have never been a big tradition with us -- but I am working on changing that! Love your pictures and so glad that you are having time with the boys. THEY could not look happier! Obviously, they are enjoying their time with you equally if not more so!

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    I now have too many for one tree, but, yes, it will be bittersweet when those ornaments are no longer on my own tree. I hope I will feel the way I do when I see my nieces wearing my daughter's hand-me-downs, delighting in the memories, happy to see a beloved dress being loved and worn again.

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Kay

    All my old but much-loved ornaments were lost or broken through many moves after a divorce but I'm glad you've been able to start handing down Christmas things to your daughters and grandsons; may they last forever.

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    I've tried to give the kids' ornaments to them, and they have taken a few, but mostly they say that they get a kick out of seeing them hanging on our tree year after year. I'm not sure if that's really true, or if they just don't want the old tacky ones on their own trees!

    I also pick up Christmas ornaments right before the big day and use them for stocking stuffers for my kids. And if a really tacky one occasionally sneaks in. . . oh, well!

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Adcox

    Love the pictures! Family ornaments are what make the tree!

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Sonoda

    A lovely post Lisa.

    As we don't celebrate Christmas we hand down things that have sentimental value.

    I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays.

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    Beautiful, Lisa! I love your way with words! The bittersweet parts are still smile makers!
    And the 'Baby's First Christmas" ornament....Megan's? precious. I love that she has that on her tree! It sounds like you've had a super sweet and fun visit with your boys! I know you hate to leave.....I always tell mine (fighting to keep the tears away) "don't be sad because it's happy that it happened!" (courtesy Dr. Suess)
    Happy Holidays to you.....and thanks once again for all your help and support in the blogging and grandmothering worlds!
    Gramcracker Joan

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    I started with a baby's first Christmas ornament and have been buying my daughter and grandchildren one each year. It's fun to see them on their family tree. I have some ornaments on our tree that belonged to my mother, aunt, grandparents and mother-in-law. When I unpack them every year, warm memories flood my mind and heart. It is heartwarming to think about our children and grandchildren unpacking ornaments we bought them many years from now.

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

    My favorites will always be the ones my son brought home from school with his picture or tiny hand print. They're always right in front, eye level, and even now, at 23, he sees them and smiles. :) Great post!

    December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVikki Claflin

    I cannot say anything, because you have said exactly what I feel. I know that I have said it before but this may be my favorite post of yours. Loved this----

    December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown
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