Christmas Traditions: Family Memories on the Tree

Christmas Ornaments
 Christmas Tree |
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Christmas 2009, soon after we moved from Texas to Virginia.

O Christmas Tree

A favorite Christmas tradition for many families is decorating the tree.  I get sort of nostalgic thinking back over the evolution of my family’s collection of ornaments, hodgepodged together over the years…

There was that first year we were married, when we had no money for decorations.  So we made star shaped, hardened cookie ornaments–painted with red food coloring and hung with little bits of raffia.

Each year, I would grow our collection of ornaments by shopping the post-Christmas clearance sales.  The first few years our tree was a bit sparse, but after a while, the ornaments–both homemade and store bought–began to fill in.

The Christmas Tree Evolves |
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Christmas 2008 in Texas, with Big Brother, age 2

Of course once kids arrive and get big enough to make ornaments, there is never a shortage of tree decorations.  Many of them are not necessarily lovely to behold, but who can deny a small child the right to hang his beloved creation in a prominent spot on the family Christmas tree?

One year back in Texas, Big Brother and I made popcorn garlands for the tree.  That might have been the same year that our tree collapsed in the middle of the night.  Right onto the sofa, thank goodness.  Mr. Native Texan was sort of new to the whole how-to-secure-a-live-tree thing.

Christmas Ornaments |
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Commemorating Special Trips and Occasions with Christmas Ornaments

Some of my family’s very favorite Christmas ornaments are those we’ve selected during family travels, marriage getaways and special occasions.

There are ornaments from our annual beach trips to Delaware, marriage getaways to places near (D.C. and Annapolis) and far (London and Alaska) and a few special occasions (Big Brother’s first trip to the symphony).

Several years ago, Mr. Native Texan took me to New York City for a few days.  Unable to locate an ornament in the souvenir shop and unwilling to spend time tracking down something suitable, we went home without one.  So that year, I used an online photo service to create a picture cube ornament with a few great shots from our weekend.

Collecting these special Christmas ornaments has become such a meaningful way to celebrate our family’s history, and early each December we get to relive those memories as we trim the tree together.

What about you–does your family have a special tree-trimming tradition?


Christmas Ornaments
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. channon on 12/23/2014 at 1:29 pm

    What fun memories! It is wonderful how looking at a well loved ornament can transport us back to the time or place we were when we place it on the tree. Have a Merry Christmas 🙂

    • Kathleen on 12/23/2014 at 2:17 pm

      Merry Christmas to you too, Channon! 🙂

  2. T. Gene Davis on 12/25/2014 at 6:39 am

    Our Christmas tree is filled with homemade ornaments, heirlooms that hung on other relatives’ trees long long ago, and little bits of our own past. The tree they have at my work place is very elegant but doesn’t have the soul of a tree filled with family ornaments.

    • Kathleen on 12/30/2014 at 6:56 pm

      Gene–I think homemade ornaments, family heirlooms and bits of the past sounds just right. You’re right–it gives a tree soul. 🙂

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