Collecting: Heirloom Ornaments and Childhood Memories

Old family ornaments get a new use filling a sleigh.
Old family ornaments get a new use filling a sleigh.

Christmas, more than any other time, reminds us of our childhood, faraway friends, lost family members, and all the things that make us feel safe in this big world.  For me, some of my most prized possessions are heirloom ornaments and Christmas bits.

Although my tree and other decorations tend to match my house and involve Santas somehow, I also proudly display items from my parents’ tree.  I have two old flocked Santas that my mom always had on our tree.  Those plus a little holiday sprig that my Grandmother Lawrence wore on her coat lapel always take a prominent spot on my Christmas tree.

Homemade icicles that my Aunt Pinkie and I made add sparkle and memories to my tree.
Homemade icicles that my Aunt Pinkie and I made add sparkle and memories to my tree.

My Aunt Pinkie (my aunt who always encouraged me to sew) made some crystal icicles shortly before she passed away.  She sent me what she had made, plus the items needed to make more.  I followed her directions and have used the icicles on my tree ever since.

A box of ornaments that always hung on the tree when I was growing up.
A box of ornaments that always hung on the tree when I was growing up.

I have found ornaments in our barn, in the garage, the attic, and several closets.  Last year, I gathered several of the old glass ornaments and filled a large metal sleigh with them.  I loved the way it turned out and enjoyed seeing the detail of each ornament, some of which had been my parents’ and some were my Grandmother’s.

While cleaning out my mom’s things, I found a small tree that had been her mother’s that is just different sized glass balls.  It is not complicated, but lovely for a tabletop.

A 5" glowing Santa candle still in the box, with Howard's price tag! Very vintage!
A 5″ glowing Santa candle still in the box, with Howard’s price tag! Very vintage!

I also found this wax Santa, still in the box.  I hate to take him out.  He is so cute!

My Aunt E, kept a couple of small Santa mugs out all year around.  I don’t know what happened to them, but I sure hope they are in the family. Seeing those type mugs in stores always make me think of Aunt E.

A handmade door handle cover with jeweled tree reminds me of Aunt E.
A handmade door handle cover with jeweled tree reminds me of Aunt E.

Aunt E also liked to do crafts.  In addition to the felt Santa toilet seat cover (yes, I still have it!), she also made door handle covers.  This one still makes its way onto a door handle from time to time!

Even if you think you will never want ornaments and decor that you grew up with, please re-purpose them or find a clever way to display them.  It will bring you joy to see them and be memories that you can pass down to your children.

What Christmas heirlooms do you have in your collection?  Do you display them every year?

A felt tree skirt that probably was made by my Aunt E. She was a teacher, so maybe she used this one in her classroom (which would explain the felt decorations being stapled on).
A felt tree skirt that probably was made by my Aunt E. She was a teacher, so maybe she used this one in her classroom (which might explain the felt decorations being stapled on).

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