My mom had a really neat tradition of giving us at least one ornament per year.  That way, when we moved out, we would have a tree full of ornaments.  We have continued that with our kids.  We also have some “family” ornaments that my husband and I have collected during our marriage.  We have enough family and kid ornaments, that I only hang out some of my most special ornaments each year.  I rotate some ornaments, but I have a few that must go on the tree each year.

Row 1 (from left to right):

1. This ornament was given to me by my grandmother the year I was born.  It was the first ornament that I received.  She bought it in a Norwegian shop in Iowa (my grandma was born in Norway).  This ornament has hung on my tree every year since I was born. Just looking at it brings back a hundred memories!

2. This ornament is the Little Book of Gnomes.  My aunt Pat gave this to me in 1985.  I love gnomes and have always had a fascination with them. I blame my Norwegian roots.  I read this book every year.  My kids love this little book too!

3. This angel ornament is also from the year I was born. My grandmother also bought me this ornament.  This ornament is very heavy and has an artist signature on the back. My grandmother told me that she bought it at a craft fair.  It has also been on the tree every year since the year I was born.  This ornament is what I picture when I hear Hark the Herald Angels Sing (since I was tiny).

Row 2 (from left to right):

1 and 2.  These are handmade ornaments made by my childhood babysitter (Aunt Barb…not my real aunt, but an honorary aunt). She made a whole bunch of these for the annual church craft fair each year.  I don’t remember what year I got these (although I remember it was the same year). I would have been between 5 and 8 years old.  I was fascinated by both. They are really well made, and always make me think of Aunt Barb.  They also remind me of how much I loved that craft fair!

3. This is a little angel with a tree in a thimble.  This was given to me by my paternal grandmother.  She collected spoons and thimbles.  I was less than 5 years old when she gave this to me.  I love the angel’s little chubby face!  She is really tiny, so she hides in the tree.  I used to like to move her around and make a game of having my younger siblings find her.

4. This little angel was also from a craft fair. I think she was also made by Aunt Barb.  She was one of the first ornaments I ever bought myself.  Some years later, I helped Aunt Barb make a bunch of these (that is why I think she made this one).  These make me nostalgic for that craft fair and the fun of preparing for it.

Each of these ornaments brings back memories of decorating the tree with my family, tucking presents under the tree, cuddling with various family members while studying the tree, and (most recently) telling my kids stories about Christmases past!  It wouldn’t feel like my tree without them.  To me, they symbolize what is important: family, making special memories, and love. That is why these ornaments are my favorite things!