Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Calendar - December 3 - Christmas Tree Ornaments & Treasure Chest Thursday

This post serves a dual function in that it covers my posting for both the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar, and the weekly Treasure Chest Thursday.

Christmas Tree Ornaments
When I was a child, I can recall Mama carefully bringing her precious Christmas tree ornament boxes down from the attic of our home, where they sat for 11 months of the year. Each year at Christmas time, Mama would bring them into the living room, where after carefully assembling the tree, Mama would begin to unpack them.

Mama never allowed my sister and I to unpack the ornaments ourselves, until we were well into our teen years. She would carefully unwrap the tissue-covered ornaments and then either hang them herself, or pass them, gingerly, to one of us to hang, upon the tree.

My favorite ornaments were those Mama said she’d had as a child. These mercury glass ornaments would sparkle in the tree lights, and at times a rainbow of colors would burst forth from them and spread upon the tree! The little fat Santa’s, and ornamental cars, and snowmen were my favorites!

Another ornament that went on the tree every year were three tiny little ancient stockings, white and red striped, that Mama would tuck onto a bough, or hang from a branch. These, she told us, were hers when she was a child. The white had faded to a yellowish tan, and the red was no longer vibrant. They had a faint musty smell. But they were Christmas to us!

Also, tucked upon the branches were three bendable/ pose able felt Santa elves. These little elves had plastic faces, and there were jingle bells at the end of their pointy caps. I used to love to see these little sprites! After all, they were Santa’s little helpers!

Then there were the “special” bulbs that Mama had bought that were trimmed in 24-karat gold (or so she always told us…later I looked and I think she must have paid a lot for them, but wanted to stress their delicacy, so she told us they were 24-karat gold trimmed!) Needless to say, we were extra careful when handling those!

Many years later, when my sister and I added to the family with our own children, Mama began the tradition of purchasing each grandchild a special monogrammed Christmas ornament each year. My sister had the one daughter, so in 18 years, she had 18 bulbs to give to her daughter. However, I had 5 children! And those last few years they were home for Christmas, our tree was decorated in nothing but their monogrammed ornaments from “Nana”! [That last year, there were over 100 when the youngest reached 18!] Because of my rather large family, it was one tradition I couldn’t afford to continue! But it was a precious one! When each of my children left home, I carefully packed their “Nana” ornaments, and sent them with their owners to their new homes.

Now, my tree is decorated with new ornaments. Unfortunately, I have no old, or heirloom bulbs to hang upon the Yule bough. But I think often of those mercury glass bulbs Mama had when I was a child. Occasionally I see them on a tree here or there at my sister’s house, where my Mama and Daddy now reside. They bring back such fond memories! And I’m happy to see them still in use!

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