Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Grab Bag - ORNAMENTS!

Better late than never on this one!  I missed the prompt but read so many great blogs on Christmas ornaments that I had to do it!

When I was growing up some of the ornaments were hand-painted, blown ornaments in the shape of pine cones, long icicles, balls with white glitter (you know the stuff that never stayed on the ornament for many years!), and tons of unique ornaments.  Each one of us kids had our own ornaments.  Ones that had been made or purchased for us.  I wish I had those ornaments for my own tree.  Sadly, my father can't find them.  I keep hoping for a Christmas miracle one of these years and I'll get a call telling me that they've been found!  It's hard to express the feeling of being able to put those beloved ornaments onto my very own Christmas tree!

What ornaments did my ancestors have?  Most likely homemade ones and perhaps one or two store-bought ornaments.  I don't know much about my Lithuanian roots, but of my Irish roots I'm a bit more familiar.  Those that came over to America were coal miners.  At least until the 20th century and the decline of King Coal.  Knowing something of the oppressed history of the Pennsylvania coal miner, we can pretty much assume that they did not have tons of money to spend and most likely made their own ornaments.  Now around the time my grandmother, Mary Quirk, was born she lived with her father, several maiden aunts and one uncle (after her mom died in childbirth while trying to have a 2nd child).  Living in such a group with only one child to bring up between them all there was more money.  Well, my mom tells me that her mom was most likely a bit spoiled by them all!  I would imagine that they began purchasing more precious items, and maybe this extended to Christmas tree ornaments. (So mom, again, if you're reading, start writing it down for me!  Keep the memories alive!)

With the longing for, and fond memories of, my own childhood ornaments I've started a tradition with my boys.  Each Christmas everyone gets a new ornament.  This way when my boys grow up and go off on their own, they'll take a little bit of home with them.  I can understand the urge of wanting to keep those ornaments with me to remind me of my children when they've gone, but I'd prefer to have them take a little bit of home with them.  Then fond memories of Christmas and their parents will never be far away!

What ornaments do you put on your tree?

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