Friday, December 13, 2019

Every Ornament Tells a Story

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Because this is our girls' first Christmas (with us), we decided to go light on the Christmas tree decorations, although they've been up more than a week now and the girls have paid very little attention to the tree. That said, we only have about half the ornaments on the tree, but of course, I had to have most of my favorites.

After my mother passed, I got first pick of her ornaments. She found this little cutie at a garage sale. She felt sorry for it because it was naked--so what did she do?  She found a piece of net and made this angel a skirt. Every time I think about this  angel, I smile because Mum gave her something to wear.  She seems much happier that way. It's a must that she goes on the tree every year.

I always loved this little angel. Maybe it's the patches on her little outfit.  For many years she was on my mother's tree, but about ten years ago I begged, sat up pretty, and my mother gave her to me.

My mother had a thing for dolls and had many of them on her tree. I only kept the ones I like, and I liked her.

Another of my mother's tree dolls.  This one is is dressed all in paper, which makes her very fragile. I wrap her well when it's time to take down the tree.

You're probably asking, "Don't you have any ornaments of your own?" I sure do. (Oh, boy do I!) This little kitty angel was a gift from my boyfriend, who a year later became my husband. She's been on our tree since the beginning.

Every year, my mother would go to a quilting conference near Syracuse. Every year she would bring me back something. (One year she brought me a mug of a kitty in a shopping bag because my cat, Kate, loved to play in shopping bags. (Still have the mug, although it's pretty faded by now.) One year, she brought me this pretty paper bow. It sits near the top of my tree and gets packed away in the original pretty paper bag it came home in, plus it's own gold-tone (Forman's) box. (Did I mention that I often buy old boxes of now-defunct department stores at yard sales?)

The first Christmas I had my own tree, I bought this little pink paper angel at Penney's. Along with her were (and I still have them) a paper lumberjack (yes, really--with a little paper ax--you can see him in the left-hand corner of the first photo above--he looks like Santa) and a paper clown. I don't like clowns, but this one wears a red-and-white striped clown suit that reminds me of salt water taffy, so he can be on my tree every year, too.

I got this little Made In Japan angel (along with 5 of her sisters--there were originally 8 in the box) at a yard sale last year. I have a thing for Made In Japan figurines and I was happy to welcome her and t the others to the tree.

For a while, kitty angels were a big thing. My mother bought me this one before they became ubiquitous and for the whopping price of $25. (It's even signed by the maker.)  It's porcelain (not plastic) and it always has a place of honor on my tree. And now I have my own silver tabby angel (my Emma--but I hope it'll be decades before she's an angel),

I have a lot of "animal" ornaments on my tree (even an elephant and a couple of fish--one smoking a cigar!). But I probably have more cats than anything else. This little cutie is asleep in a Santa hat.

I bought this Westie ornament in honor of my parents' first Westie, Buddy. What a good dog. He went to obedience school twice and was a joy to walk. He always sat at the curb, and he never did his business during a walk, so you never had to carry a bag. (He waited until he got home.) His first winter, my Dad trained him to wait to have his feet wiped of snow (or mud). He'd patiently stand there and offer you each paw so you could wipe them. And he stood quietly while you picked the snow from between the pads on his feet. That dog was just a joy.

This is Elga. She's kind of shabby and faded now, but she used to hang from the rear-view mirror of my first car. When I got a new car, I retired her, but I never got rid of her. Now she graces my tree every Christmas. And, as it turns out, she now has sisters. When I married Mr. L, he had several of these little crocheted cuties (all different) and they go up on the tree every year, too!

These are just a few of the hundreds (and I mean that literally) of ornaments that go up on our 7.5' tree every year.  Do your ornaments all have a story?

P.S. My Dad carved Santas as a hobby.  This is just one of them. (They're all different!) I have about 30 of them on my tree. (You can see another one in the top photo at the upper left.)


Tonette Joyce said...

I love the memories and family ornaments, Lorraine! My mother used balls only, that ranged from 1/4 inch in diameter(seriously; the hooks were so much bigger than they were), to 5" in diameter. She started the smallest at the top and graduated them down on her perfectly picked pine each year.
When I was married and was sent by my husband to get a tree and whatever I wanted for it for our second Christmas, (two months before our first son was born), I opted for a small artificial tree for where we lived then, a charming but small apartment in a converted farm building. I saw toy ornaments and fell in love! Afterward, I picked up different ones here and there on travels,and I had handmade angels from various sources. But here is the real story: Two summers ago I had been in an accident and could not clear out the many boxes in my garage that needed to go to the local St.Vincent de Paul thrift store. My teenage grandson and his girlfriend helped me. Twice he complained about a box being extra heavy,but I just agreed. Then at Christmas,I could not find most of my special ornaments.I went to the store and they offered to keep an eye out for them, but since they came late in the season, in their storage it was 'last in, first out'.No one expected them not to already have been sold. I looked all over the garage three times.I looked over it twice last year. This yearm I found a broken-down, opened box which contained the missing ornament! I spotted the original angel for the top of the tree, unwrapped(!), which is why I loked into the box at all. I had always treated her gently, wrapped well, and the fragile ornaments were in large, glass Christmas cookie jars. I always had these in sturdy boxes, if not in large plastic storage totes! I have no idea why they were like this, where they had been, and how we had not seen them for Two Christmases,but they are all back. I wish you a Merry Christmas!

MD said...

Santa Carving - what a wonderful hobby!

Robyn K said...

Your ornaments are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I love the story of your westie.

Sheryl Sens said...

Oh I love the ornaments!!!