Yesterday I shared how I'm vacillating over whether to have a tree next year or not. If I do decide to to have one, it will be the ornaments that tip the scale.
Unpacking the ornaments one-by-one gives me warm fuzzies, for each and every one is special because of who gave it, or where we bought it. No theme or color-coordinated trees for us; we like our mix of homemade and store-bought ornaments that in no way relate to one another; not in design, color, or size. And that suits us just fine. Because, just like the tree, it's not about the ornaments. It's about the people we remember as we hang each ornament on the tree.
Back in the mid-to-late 80s we lived in Florida and the church we attended hosted a homemade ornament exchange every year. By the time we moved to Michigan I must have had 75 or more ornaments from those exchanges alone. Sadly many of those have broken or fallen apart, or just flat out disintegrated. But a few dozen remain, including these pieces that were to be part of a full nativity set (but since I moved away I wasn't around to finish out the set):
Back in the mid 90s my SIL Sharon and I shared a craft booth at a holiday sale, and she gave me the most adorable salt dough ornament of a reindeer all tangled up in Christmas lights. That did not survive being in a damp storage unit, which makes me really sad. But she has since given me this darling little hand-painted bell:
(Don't look too close or you'll see where I dropped and broke it this year. Ivan was able to glue most of it back together but we couldn't find a few of the slivers.)
This isn't exactly homemade, but it's not store bought either:
[hint, hint ;) ]
We like to pick up special ornaments when we travel, as well, and this year two of those ornaments made it on the tree: a ceramic cross we picked up in Ireland and this little cactus we bought in Arizona two years ago:
We started a tradition when the kids were little, of buying them each an ornament every year for their own collection. We tried to find ones that represented something important in their life that year. Like the patriotic Santa that Tina received the year she turned 18 and could finally vote, or the puppy that we gave Jon after he and Nat got Leo. And sometimes I'd find one I just had to get for Ivan, too, that reflect his interests:
(cough, cough) more colorful than something I'd normally pick out, but he likes it anyway.
I could keep going (but don't worry, I won't) because we have dozens of ornaments and each one tells a story.
What about your ornaments? Do they tell a story? Have you inherited any? (I'd love to have some from my mom!) Do you make ornaments yourself?