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December 3, 2013

A conversation about the weirdness of some Christmas traditions recently led me to wonder exactly WHY I enjoyed storing a tree in the basement and setting it up in the living room for one month out of the year.

The answer is apparently the ornaments.  The tree and the lights give me something to look at to fight the awfulness of it getting dark before 5 pm every day, and the ornaments, well . . .

The ornaments are partially an extension of my love of miniatures, but mainly they are physical manifestations of my memories.  Each ornament I pull out of the box comes with a positive memory.  Some of them remind me of the fun shopping trips I used to go on with my Mom and sister, some of tree decorating parties while watching movies on TV.  Some are memories of trips, or people.  Some I just love because I think they're beautiful, and some remind me of my favorite things.  Our Christmas Tree is a true representation of us.

I was excited this year because a new house allowed me to access the entire tree and hang EVERY ornament on it.  It's a pretty wild assortment.  I'm going to share!

This first picture shows my first ornament - the little girl on the bike.  My sister and I had several ornaments on our parents' tree that were designated as 'ours.'  This was mine, along with a 'Baby's first Christmas' ornament, and a pewter Santa face.  Mom hung them on the same side of the tree so we would know which side had our presents.  Once or twice she got it reversed and we would demand it be fixed.  It has my name and '1979' written on the bottom, because that's how my mother prevented ownership fights.  

The glass ornament on the far right belonged to my great-grandparents.  I inherited quite a few!  The 'Z' is an ornament I made in honor of my new last name.  I thought it was a good way to personalize the tree.  

The owl?  I have a lot of owl ornaments.  They just keep coming.  I try to explain it off as a representation of the Nutcracker, although I think that's only in the movie.  

Another section of ornaments.  Beside the owl ornaments, I also have a lot of mouse ornaments.  You can see two here.  I can't imagine the fighting that goes on when I'm not around.  You can also see two more of my great-grandparent's ornaments - the glass top and a wooden green top directly below.  My husband had quite a few space themed ornaments, so they're all over the tree as well.  They're supposed to plug into the lights, but unfortunately the plugs don't fit in the LED light strand that I have.  So sad!  The pewter ornament is a souvenir from my first visit to Williamsburg, which was a really fun trip.  The White House ornament is one of several that I have - gifts from my aunt.  They were pretty popular in the Northern Virginia area!  

The hot air balloon is another gift from my aunt, after a memorable hot air balloon ride my husband and I took.  The nativity egg was painted by my grandmother.  The Peanuts ornament I especially like, as it's Christmassy, popular characters, AND educational.  There's a number of Peanuts characters all around the ball, each wishing you a Merry Christmas in a different language.  Usually I don't really like not having something holiday related on the tree, but this counts.  (if you're going to have Superman hanging on your tree, at least put a santa hat on him!)  There's also another mouse, a set of five I dearly love.  I THINK I have them all.

I keep having to reglue the tip of the tail on the caroler, and the ice skater lost one of her skates, so I made a new one, but otherwise their smiles just make me happy.

This one is another favorite.  There was a whole set, but I just wanted him!  He is so heavy that I can only hang him on full size trees, so for a while he sat out all year on a shelf.  I have numerous Nutcracker related ornaments, Nutcrackers, mice, owls, ballerinas, and Drosselmeyers.  

I also inherited a number of wooden ornaments from my grandfather's tree.  This chair, a cradle, and a grandfather clock, which makes me considering doing a miniature tree and just hanging furniture on it.  Could be fun!  I suppose I should make them more Christmassy!  

This is not an ornament, but a tiny mouse figurine, writing a letter to Santa.  I never know where to put her!  Perhaps I should find a way to hang her on the tree.

It took my Mom and sister quite a few trips to be able to collect three sets of these Peanuts carolers.  While trying to get Snoopy, they came back laughing.  Apparently there had been a manufacturing mistake, and Snoopy's head had been put on backwards on many of the figurines.  Fortunately they had checked first!  You can't see in this photo, but Snoopy has a tail sticking straight out behind his scarf . . .

So that's my tree. Mice and space ships, owls and comic book characters.  It makes me happy, so it goes up every year.