Friday, December 3, 2010

Hang a Shining Star upon the Highest Bough

Today’s writing prompt from the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories is Christmas Tree Ornaments. I’ve already talked quite a bit about them in my first post on the Christmas tree. After all, a tree without ornaments is too minimalist for most of us.

I’ not sure if any of the German ornaments, or any others, from our childhood survived to be divided up among us five children when our parents died. Five children, moves hither and yon, and after retirement and settling back in Maine,cats and dogs, probably took care of most of them. I remember a lot of those little glass ones from Germany – was there once a teapot? A gingerbread house?

As I said, our tree always had a star on top. But when I was looking for a treetopper in Berlin, I found an angel with a wax head. She held a tiny candle and had gold paper wings. She ended up gracing our trees for over twenty years – maybe even thirty. Sadly, first her head was broken off while she was on display for an ornament show at church; it was reattached with a pin, but one year the poor angel fell apart and the head could not be found. We experimented with various treetoppers for a few years until Cordeliaknits made a beaded angel with hand-knitted, fluffy white wings.

That first Christmas in Berlin I did a lot of shopping by mail, One thing I bought was the first issue of a new set of star ornaments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I believe the star, gold over sterling silver, cost $12.50. We continued to buy the stars each year until we had 25. By that time the price had increased to $50 and the Met was no longer commissioning a star design from a living artist, but using elements from items in its collection. So we stopped. Here’s a photo of this year’s star (I couldn’t get all the bits of the silver snowflake out of the picture). Apparently it now costs 2010star about $120 or more, as you can buy both the star and snowflake for $240. Too rich for my blood! We have bought or been given other “collectible” ornaments over the years, but we haven’t started any official new collection.

Most of our ornaments now were bought one by one, or sometimes three by three – as the children got them for Advent calendar presents or in their stockings. Others were gifts from friends and family who traveled or made them, and of course there are the precious ones made by little hands at day care or kindergarten. A few years ago, I attempted an inventory, and also got one boxfull photographed. Here are a few of them.

I heart Xmas bell This was Sisterfilms’ first ornament – received the night before she was born. (Yes, she is a Christmas baby.)

Glass Beast from Beauty and the Beast A Christmas Eve tradition for many years was going to the Dayton’s Auditorium Show first thing in the morning. For a while they sold these fancy glass ornaments based on whatever story was being portrayed – this was Beauty and the Beast. Of course, I bought this at the after-Christmas sales for 50 or 75% off.

Copper cellophane angel Our daycare provider Faye made up for my lack of craftiness with many nice projects. There’s another angel like this with pearlescent cellophane instead of copper; I’m not sure which girl made which (but they probably remember.)

Ceramic Big Bird Big Bird was a favorite of SonShineIn’s. As a small child he had a life-size cardboard cutout of him in his room, and I would be Big Bird’s “voice” as they chatted at bedtime.

Cordelia's Word Chain

Cordeliaknits was very proud of being in “Kindergarten Readers” and making this long word chain to hang on the tree.

Danish paper heart basket

It wouldn’t be a Danish Christmas tree without some woven heart baskets.

What do you remember about Christmas ornaments?

2 comments:

TCasteel said...

I am lucky to still have 6 surviving glass German ornaments. Probably because my mom was so afraid of us kids breaking them that she never put them on the tree! She also still has an old santa doll and an old German village that she refuses to put out to this day. I'll have to remind her about those. Even the grandkids,sho are in college now, are past the breaking things stage.

amandasathenaeum said...

Welcome to the Geneabloggers!