Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ornaments

As Peggy mentioned in the comments of my last post, we have a lot of ornaments for a family that has never had a Christmas tree before. While a few meaningful ones have been purchased new, most have been picked up within the last few months at garage sales and Goodwill. I thought I'd take a few moments to share some of my favorite thrifted ones with you.

These green balls are my absolute favorite:I love, love, love them. I have a set of 14 that I bought at a garage sale for about $4. They look vintage but I don't think they are. They probably originally came from Target or some place similar.

This sled ornament also came from a garage sale.I think it was some outrageous price like 25 cents. It's hand painted and the date on the side says 1983. I know that it may seem weird to some that I have other folk's personal, hand made ornaments hanging from my tree, but I have no problem co-opting someones happy memories and making them my own. Plus, I think that in twenty years, these ornaments will have more personal meaning to me. They'll serve to remind me of our first real holiday season.

I bought these dog balls (ha, dog balls) at Goodwill this past weekend. They were $2.99 for a set of eight. Being that we are atheistic around these parts, our tree doesn't have any serious religious meaning to us, so I have no problem kitsching it up a bit and these are just good, tacky fun. Who knows though, we may tire of them and send them back to Goodwill after the holidays are over. (Sorry the glare on these is so awful. Bad timing, elusive Oregon sun.)These last three ornaments came in a grab bag from Goodwill. The bag cost $7.99 and was filled with probably close to fifty ornaments. A lot were handmade, some were cuter than others, some just aren't us, but the kids and I had fun going through them all. The girl put them all on the tree but when the holidays are over I'll definitely be going through and keeping only the ones we love.

This one is the girl's favorite, probably because it's pink. It's handmade from a clothespin, but handmade well, meaning it doesn't look like a first grader's craft project.She's holding the tiniest jar of potpourri with a gift tag for Leslie so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this was a gift for Leslie. The year 1984 is written on the bottom. Apparently the early eighties were a good time for handmade crafts. In my mind I like to think that some crafty mom made these ornaments for her kids every year and that Leslie is her daughter. The truth could be something completely different and Leslie could be a raging bitch but I'm sticking with my happy fantasy.

This guy makes me chuckle every time I look at him. He looks like something straight out of the Rudolph special they show on TV every year.Now this last guy certainly isn't fancy but I wanted to share him with you because I think his construction is pretty clever:His head and body are two nuts glued together:I think it's such a cute, but still quick and simple, craft idea.

I'm still finding my rhythm with this whole holiday tree thing and I guess the possibilities for decorating it are almost endless. Do you decorate your tree differently every year, maybe adopting a different theme? Because the control freak nut job in me could totally get on board the idea of maybe one year only using pastel colored ornaments, or striped ornaments, etc. What are your favorite ornaments and why? Is it the same year after year? What about lights? Do you change those out every year? And while we're on the subject of Christmas lights, are they the shittiest, most shoddily made products or what? I have a feeling that the next three months of my life are going to be spent wiggling teeny tiny bulbs trying to find the culprit that is keeping the whole string from blinking.


The WoodLand School said...

Our tree is a collection of memories -- some from childhood, some from adulthood. Although some are handmade, others are souvenirs from travel or other adventures. Each year, my DH and I find a new ornament to add to our collection.

We recently purchased a pre-lit fake tree (gasp!). We got it on super-sale the day after Christmas ... and were *thrilled* to learn that even when one light goes out, the rest stay lit. Oh joy!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Kids and ornaments --- Mine always had so much fun dragging out the boxes. We had a little nutcracker man who was called Captain Nutcracker. He ruled all the other ornaments. Everyone wanted to get the Captain each year. It's sad that he's kind of forgotten now.

Happy memory-making to you. (And I'm an atheist too, but we still get into the whole decorating / gift-giving thing. I claim it's the spirit of giving and togetherness, which it is).

Nowheymama said...

I am loving your Christmas posts! Our tree has 80% homemade ornaments, and I love them. We make more every year, so we're running out of space. :)

Angela said...

I love ornaments! And your sled is my favorite of all the pictures :)

I usually do two trees. One small tabletop for the kids to decorate with their own ornaments. Yep, all three of my kids already have large boxes that we add to each year with a new ornament just for them :). Anywho the family tree is eclectic. All of my ornaments have some special meaning. Many were gifts, many came my grandmother and are around 65-70 years old. Some commemorate milestones (wedding, kids birth', etc). I can't do a themed tree because then I would be all upset that all of my ornaments didn't get on the tree lol.

And this year, I am adding a third tree. I am borrowing my husband's aunt's cool tradition. The third tree will feature home made sugar cookies that the kids and I decorate. Then when someone visits, they have to take a cookie home with them.

Sorry to write a mini-novel, I just love this time of year lol!

Jessie at Luna Pacifica said...

These are so cute!!!

Our ornament tradition: The day we get our tree, we go to a store or antique shop and pick out a Family Ornament together. We've done this since the year before Mr. B and I were married and now we will have 7 ornaments in our collection! After we do our tree blessing, the family ornament is the first on the tree, followed by the rest of the collection. The remaining ornaments are a few that hung on my childhood trees, ones we've made, some I've gathered from swaps, and plain old colored balls from Target to pull together and enhance whatever color scheme we're going for that year.

My favorite one is a toy rattle my mother saved from when I was a baby, as well as some my children have made.

Carla said...

We have a mishmash of every kind of ornament on our tree - delicate, glass ones to childhood ones to commemorative hockey players! We have the supplies for a "theme" tree which we've used a few times but I'm kind of partial to a more personalized unique tree. We argue over my strong desire for icicles (silver strands placed all over the tree to make it shimmer, I grew up calling it tinsel) every year and I always win.

Tammie said...

thank you all for sharing your ornament thoughts. this is exactly what i wanted to hear.

woodland: ha! at some point i may have to get one of those as a second tree. the non-working light thing is slightly stressful.

jodi: that's how i see it too. i really like the focus on being home and being together as much as possible.

nowhey: id love to know how you make your ornaments.

angela: no apologies! thats exactly the kind of thing i was wondering about. it never occurred to me to have more than one tree but i like the idea. that way i could do a theme tree and a family tree.

jessie: oh that rattle sounds adorable. and i like the family ornament idea. this year i bought four *special* ornaments, one for each of us but maybe in the future we'll just do one family one.

Tammie said...

carla: yes! im so glad you mentioned those icicles (i always thought of it as tinsel too and was wondering why i couldnt find any). ive seen them all over in my shopping but wasnt sure what they were but i think thats the one thing my tree is missing. must.get.some.

daphne said...

So cute! My mom started a tradition when I was born -- every year she selects a special ornament for my brother and me each. Over the years our tastes have evolved. Mine are now usually delicate hand-blown glass of some kind, and my brother's are woodland-themed. So I have quite a collection and every single one is meaningful. Which means my tree basically looks the same every year, which I'm okay with. I love the thrifted ones you came up with -- some of my favorites are the ones my mom kept from the 60s, which are on her tree now, not mine. I might have to keep my eye out for some of those.

kraftykash said...

I love the ornaments! We never get anything that good at the thrift stores here.The one with Leslie cracks me up the most.
As a kid our tree was a cluster of everything, it drove me nuts. As an young adult my tree was always matching and themed. Now its a big ole cluster fuck. I LOVE it that way. The more original the ornament the better.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Tammie you are damn determined to get me in the spirit aren't you?
I LOVED this post!!

My ornaments are all over the place -handed down from my mom and Rick's mom. Some ornaments are homemade from when I was a kid and we have some that Rick made when he was a kid. We have some that we bought one another and started that tradition long ago. My step mom bought we sisters an ornament every year until we were married - then it was about the grandkids. So you see I have an eclectic sort of display. It's not all Martha matchy matchy. I always wanted one of those but then I get out our ornaments and look at them - it's nope I like mine.

As for lights. Rick and I have some hand me down lights that are so old school old. They are big and fat bulbs. They are still working! The new mini light things we have purchased over the years work for awhile and then get dumped and we buy again. The fat old bulbs continue to work and they are like 40 yrs old. I haven't used them in years and 2 yrs ago I used them and everyone asked where I found those "retro" bulbs they wanted them. That made me laugh.

I love the elf and the "Nutty" one.

Sarah12730 said...

Christmas ornaments are oh-so-important to me. I think that the holiday season is so IMPORTANT to me is that it was actually the only time of the year my family made any effort to even pretend they liked each other. Sad, I know. Anyways.... my parents (more likely my mom) bought an ornament for me every year until I moved out. Then, my mom gave me almost all her Christmas ornaments the first Christmas I had in my own place, because she had quit putting up a tree (for several reasons -- 1)My parents are essentially hoarders, so they don't have a lot of guests 2)They started having problems where their cats were knocking the tree over and, 3)After I moved out, there really wasn't any reason to put up a tree, since my parents seem only to be formally married anymore, it's not like they talk or actually like each other.) SO, we have about a million ornaments. Howard and I have gotten at least one ornament as a couple every year, and now we buy ornaments for each of the boys, too. At this point, unless I get a tree that won't actually fit into the house, I can't put all the ornaments on it. So, I pick and choose each year, and cram as many as I can onto the poor tree. Normally, you can't actually see the tree for all the lights, garland, and ornaments, you just have to trust that it's there.

I'm so glad to hear you're creating your own family holiday traditions. Whatever the season means to you, I think it's important to celebrate our families and the love we share. Even though almost everyone I know seems to have come from some sort of ridiculously horrid childhood. At least we can recognize that fact and try to give our children something different.

Haleine said...

My husband and I had a Christmas tree our first year living together and we had absolutely no ornaments to put on it so I decorated it with a box of candy canes and a construction paper chain.

That Christmas, we received a wide variety of ornaments from both sides of the family...but, of course, since then, we've never had another tree.

Dani said...

Those are great! I love how you said that many of these ornaments will gain importance over the years. So very true.

I'm not one for a formal, planned out tree with a theme. Where would I put all those ornaments with sentiment attached? So our tree is very campy. I love it. It's hodgepodge and wonderful in its own Senske family way.

One tradition I started last year is making an ornament (which means two) every year. Eventually we will have a small collection that The Offspring can take with them to their home.

Tammie said...

sarah: i love your comment and the last paragraph especially really hit the nail on the head in describe perfectly what im trying to do, which is make this whole season really joyous for my kids.

haleine:oh yes, we've definitely got some candy canes up there too.

Mari said...

We pretty much do the same decorations every year, red and gold theme. There is attrition every year as well, need a couple of new additions. I love christmas lights! If I could, I'd leave them up all year.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

I LOVE that little Santa dude! SO freaking cute.
At this stage in our life, the tree is all about the kids. I have ornaments that my 17 year old son made in Pre-K, I've actually managed to keep them in one piece through all these years & moves (impressive for me). I dream of a color-coordinated, themed tree, but maybe it'll happen when the kids are grown, maybe by then grandkids will have taken over, who knows? Most likely I'll end up with two trees; one for the kids' stuff and one that's all pretty and perfect.
BTW, I checked out two Gillian Flynn books from the library, on your recommendation. I just barely started the first one, but I'll let you know what I think!

mandy said...

These are SO GREAT!

I love that some of them have other people's names on them. Let me tell you, I rarely geek out more at the thrift store than when I find a treasure with a name/date on it, and then if it's handmade on top of it all, I have to have it.

Love your ornaments.