I was 21 years old. Dinner with my family had just ended but everyone was still relaxing at the table. Slowly, my parents presented me with Ziplocloc bag full of Christmas ornaments.
I examined the contents of the bag. It contained about 20-something ornaments. Not just any Christmas ornaments but my annual christmas ornaments. And my parents were handing them over to me to hang on my own Christmas tree in my own home.
I am sure they said something meaningful and significant. I truly don’t remember what it was, but I do remember the moment. This was a rite of passage. A symbolic moment.
I was leaving and setting up my own home. My Christmas ornaments would hang on my own tree the very next Christmas. And every Christmas that followed.
These days, I love hanging that same bag of ornaments on the tree each year.
These annual ornaments represent various aspects of the first two decades of my life.
You’ll find a hand-stitched Raggedy Ann.
A paper ornament with a scene from the movie, ET.
I still hang a matchbox car that my parents gave me on the Christmas I had turned 16.
And then there is the volleyball which accurately represents four years of my life.
My children know these ornaments. They have heard their stories. And because of the stories, they carry a little extra knowledge about me with them.
I want to give my children the same gift. It is a gift of their own stories. I envision them hanging their ornaments and sharing their meanings with friends, a spouse, or their own children one day.
And so we continued the tradition of an annual ornament for each kid in this house. On Christmas morning, our children find a new ornament in their stocking that represents some aspect of their life previous year.
Our Kids Annual Christmas Ornaments
Joy – One year I saw the words “Joy” and “Peace” hanging in the ornament section. They were the very characteristics that described my daughters so well.
Salt Dough Sports Balls – I still have the salt dough volleyball ornament that my high-school friend, Laura, gave me. These ornaments were inspired by Laura’s gift.
John Deere – Because he loved all things John Deere that year and I really liked the stand in the mall where you could personalize an ornament.
T – It’s hard to read, but this ornament says, “Bye. Love you. Miss you.” Tricia (T) said this to anyone leaving our house for YEARS. She even had hand signs that went with it.
Computer – Another personalized ornament reflecting David’s love for miniclip dot com that year.
Cell Phone – Yes. My cell phone was Tricia’s favorite toy when she was 1.
North Carolina – Each of the kids received a North Carolina ornament the year we moved. I purchased these “over the top” personalized ones for the girls representing our “Southern Belle” side.
Rubber Duck – Kayleigh was obsessed with rubber ducks. We simply tied one up with a ribbon.
Pokey Ball – Last year I painted three white ornaments from Michael’s. Each was transformed into a different type of Pokey Ball for my Pokemon fans.
In addition to an ornament for each child, Eric and I continue to select an ornament to represent our year as a family. These are the ornaments that will remain on our tree even after our children have been given their bags.
Our Family’s Annual Christmas Ornament
National Zoo Keychain – Truth be told, we use keychains as ornaments ALL. OF. THE. TIME. The are so much less expensive and work just as well for a memory!
Crazy Owl – Our family fell in love with Poppy while reading his tale. It was a memorable time as we worked through the entire series and celebrated with a Book Club Party School. As soon as I saw this guy, I knew that Mr. Ocax had found a place on our tree.
A German Coaster – This coaster was on our table at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany. Coasters make fantastic free ornaments! Eric and I love to share our Europe vacation memories with the kids.
Personalized Flip-Flops – Our annual vacation to New Smyrna Beach has its place on our tree!
Pregnant Momma – This could have been the ornament many times over. But this ornament was pregnant with baby #3.
Cow Bell – Our cow bell was another creative keepsake that we turned into an ornament from a shop in Switzerland.
This tradition is one that I hope continues for many generations to come. Christmas is the perfect time of year to take a trip down memory lane while decorating your tree.
The ornaments can be simple, creative, silly, or traditional. But find the ornaments that will tell a story for years to come.
How about your family? Do you purchase annual Christmas ornaments?