Christmas Ornament Show and Tell

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Boy, Jolanthe was speaking my language when she decided to host a Christmas ornament show and tell.  I love Christmas ornaments!  I have collected Hallmark ornaments since before I was married and each one tells a story.  I thought I would highlight ten of them and include my post as a belated Top Ten Tuesday, but for each ornament I’ve highlighted, there are at least two others that could have taken its place.

1.  The Snow Buddies.  My mom has bought my sister and I a Christmas ornament each year as long as I can remember.    The snow buddies series has gone on forever.  Each year (about thirteen now), mom sighs as she wonders if the series is finally finished…but my girls and I are glad it’s still going on.  We love the snow buddies!  As soon as I pull out the box of ornaments, the girls start calling which ones they get to hang up.

I get the husky!” Megan cries.

I get the fawn,” Brianna counters.

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2. My Christmas Bear.  This ornament gets lovingly and carefully wrapped in paper each year as the ornaments are packed away and just as lovingly and carefully hung on the tree when they’re pulled out.  One of my closest friends made my brother and I each one of these ornaments way back in high school one year.  (Yes, I was Kristy back in those days…or these days if you ask my mom, dad, or sister – my friend was a Christy, too.)

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3.  Herman the Mouse.  I have no idea how he got his name, but Herman was a gift from my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Cunningham, who is fondly remembered for teaching us square dancing, along with math and reading, playing John Denver music while we worked quietly, and letting us bring pets for show and tell.  I’ll never forget bringing my cat to school for the day!

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4.  Angel.  This ceramic angel belonged to my grandmother, who never seemed to get her Christmas tree decorated until Christmas Eve just before everyone got there.  She never got her presents wrapped early, either.  My mom and my aunt were usually hidden away in a bedroom, wrapping presents while Nannie finished Christmas dinner.

Nannie never let anyone show up to her house and not get a gift.  She bought extra boy gifts and girl gifts, just in case someone showed up unexpectedly.  The first Christmas after she passed away, the grandkids were each given some of her Christmas ornaments.  I miss her even more each year as I hang her ornaments on our tree.

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5.  Baby’s First Christmas.  Each of my kids has a Hallmark “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament.  I’m not sure if this is Josh or Megan’s.  They were born less than two years apart, so the series hadn’t yet changed.   The kids all love hanging their ornaments.  These usually get clustered close together…but that’s okay.  I like ‘em like that.

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6.  Bells and Snow Globes.  My dad and step-mom have given us two sets of personalized ornaments – snowmen bells and snow globes.  I love them!  They are definitely among my favorites.

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7.  Grandpa Bear.  This was Brianna’s gift to my step-dad on her first Christmas.  He lost his battle with cancer in January of 2001.  My mom gave the Grandpa bear ornament back to me last year.  I’m already thinking of my step-dad at Christmas because it was his favorite season.  Like me, he was a very sentimental person who tried to pretend he wasn’t.  He’d go all out for Christmas.

I remember a Christmas shortly after my sister, 9 years younger than me, was born.  I was eleven.  I guess Mom and Casey figured it was their last year to spoil me while my sister was still too young to want much.  I got so much stuff!  A rabbit fur jacket, a stereo (with two albums!), a General Hospital t-shirt (I was such a fan…and I can’t even imagine watching those silly soap operas now), and more.

My mom later told me that it was all Casey’s idea.  She didn’t think I needed all that and wasn’t going to get it all.  Pretty thoughtful for somebody who tried to put off an air of gruffness.

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8. Fisher Price School House.  I’ve already posted about my new ornament from this year – my Fisher Price School House.  The front even opens to reveal little people inside!  I love it!  Last year’s ornament is the leg lamp from The Christmas Story.

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9.  Christmas ornaments candles.  My Aunt Kitty (my grandfather’s sister) used to give often unusual gifts.  I’ll never forget the two consecutive years that she sent me Boggle games.  I guess that wasn’t unusual, but it was always funny to me that she sent me two of them.  she must have really thought that game suited me.  As an adult, I just realize how thoughtful it was that she sent me gifts, even though I rarely saw her because she lives out of town.

Even after I married, she still sent me gifts each year.  One of my favorites were these candle holders that looked like Christmas tree ornaments.  The problem came when we got these “peace” stocking holders (which I just had to have since there are five of us).  There were only three of the ornament candles.  Clearly, I needed three more to achieve optimal fireplace mantel symmetry.

I was so excited, two years ago, to find another set on Ebay!  Mantel symmetry achieved.

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10.  Nativity scenes.  Brian and I didn’t have a nativity scene for a long time after we were married.  I just couldn’t find one that I liked as well as the one my mom had when I was growing up.  Then, one year, Brian’s aunt, who ran an antiques and collectible shop, started us on the Fontanini figures.  I found this great little stable somewhere – no idea where.  It wasn’t a Fontanini stable, but I love it!  I rigged the angel up with a wire ornament hook and we were good to go.

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The Little People nativity set, I “won” on Ebay (for the low, low price of $40…yikes!) on Megan’s first Christmas.  I knew I was paying at least twice the price someone had paid for it new, but I had to have it. I thought it was the perfect gift for Megan’s first Christmas (or, maybe it was her second or third…something like that).

I left it out in her room for the first couple of years, then, I started storing it with our Christmas decorations so the pieces weren’t misplaced.  I’m glad I did because now, every year at Christmas, Megan says, “Oh, I love this set!”  It’s special.

Megan sets it up every year and every year I’m struck by the perfect arrangement of the figures.  See, in my nativity scene, everyone is standing around, artfully displayed, looking all holy and…well, on display.

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In Megan’s set, though, look how everyone is crowded around, wise men crushed up amidst the animals, to get a peek at the Baby Jesus.  Isn’t that how it should be?  All of us excited at Christmas because maybe, just maybe, if we look very carefully, we’ll get a glimpse of our Savior.

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14 Comments

  1. I love this! It's just the post I needed to read this morning as I sit and drink my coffee before we hit the road. I am not wanting to travel 11 hours for a quick turn around trip. But it's an important trip and this post reminded me why I love Christmas so and how excited I really am to see some of our family we wouldn't otherwise see at this time of year BECAUSE of this trip:) Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas to you!

  2. We have the baby's First Christmas train, too! Loved seeing your ornaments and reading their stories. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a great collection you have! I am totally sentimental about all of my ornaments, too.

    And we also have that *Little People* nativity from my daughter's first Christmas~I just love it! And so my kiddos:)

  4. I love nativity sets. I have two veggie tales sets, one other child set, a white ceramic set, and a set made with handwoven inkle bands. I remember setting up the nativity when I was a child. The set was huge. 10 inch figures, animals, shepherds, angels, magi, and a big two piece plywood stable. It was the focus of all the christmas decor.

  5. I love seeing everyone's ornaments.

    I especially like what you pointed out in the nativity set-ups. My son did the same thing but that particular lesson didn't dawn on me. Thanks for your insight there!

  6. I love the Fisher Price schoolhouse ornament! I still have my Fisher Price school that I got for my 4th birthday. Now my kids play with it. I'll have to look for that ornament!

  7. Cute ornaments! The Baby's 1st Christmas train is from 1999–I bought the same one for my daughter, who was born in January of that year.

  8. Vanessa,

    Yeah, one of the trains is from 1999, but the other one (just like it) is from 2001. The line was still going, unchanged, at that time. I always have to look at the year on the back of the train to know if it's Josh or Megan's. We have two sets of five (the entire series) just alike.

  9. pretty ornaments! i love the older, sentimental ones. i love that you can remember your 5th grade teacher's name. i got to bring my cat to school one day too- i was in 3rd grade. fun memories.

    PS WOW your camera is really good. just sayin:)

  10. @mama hall: Thanks! I almost mentioned in the post that one of the side benefits to writing this post was getting to play with my camera. 😉

  11. Love your ornaments!

    "I miss her even more each year as I hang her ornaments on our tree." I totally feel the same way about my Memaw! Her ornaments are so special to me.

    My daughter will be 7 in May and I have left out the Little People nativity set all year, since her 1st Christmas. She still plays with the people. Sure, they hang out with Littlest Pet Shops and My Little Ponies, but Mary, Jesus and Joseph love it! LOL!

  12. LOVE! All my ornaments have a story, too. So fun.

    And I LOVE the way your daughter sets up the nativity. That little people nativity is one of my faves.

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