At the elementary school, across the street from our home, I recently helped make ornaments for a big children’s Christmas party. One of my glitter mates was a lovely 15-year old girl named Radha. She was visiting from Australia, and thought ornaments an unusual word for the baubles we were making.
“What do you call them in Australia?” I asked.
Radha’s answer, “Treasures.”
How very charming I thought –– that’s exactly how I think of them.
Ornament shopping, for me, is like buying the world’s jewels for mere pennies. Each year, I add a handful to my collection. The glorious frog above, a treasure from Pottery Barn, is so fine I’m going to keep it on display year round. The elephants sauntered into our collection, because my husband likes the Hindu god Ganesh .
We actually purchased these Indian hand-painted pieces at a hotel gift shop, in India. I especially like the green bell. It reminds me of the time I had to miss my kindergarten Christmas party, due to a cold. A kind person, who was at the party, brought me cookies and a bell ornament made of green construction paper. Five-year old me treasured the simple little bell more than words can say –– I saved it and carefully hung it on our tree for many years.
I often like to give ornaments as gifts, as a little collection, or in the middle of a bow on a package. I was taken by surprise one year when my husband handed me a half carton of eggs that were actually the ornaments shown here. He often finds himself at Smith&Hawken looking for a gift for his wife, the rose gardener. Buying the ornaments was a little ‘out of the box’ for him. So I treasure them for their beauty and thoughts of Leroy.
I had to include this special pair. They were a Christmas bazaar purchase from more than thirty years ago. Long before hot glue and all the other ‘wonder’ glues on the market –– these were hand-stitched. Even the little pink cheeks are stitched felt circles. You can feel the love from these two.
Speaking of bazaars, for a few years our family held a Christmas bazaar for the neighborhood, in our living room. My clever daughters made fabulous things to sell. One year Anna embroidered a gazillion little hearts.
Oneita made wonderfully unusual lavender sachets. This one I particularly treasure. Oneita is a costume designer in Los Angeles. I must tell the story about the year she was hired to decorate a tree for the school, across the street. I was somewhat mortified, because I never let my children hang ornaments on the tree. I know –– we won’t go there. Anyway, my thoughts of her not knowing what to do vanished as she confidently went about her task.
Anna also needlepoints. She made these gorgeous little 4-inch pillows for our family. I like to rest them on a welcoming fir bough.
A little whimsy –– the wagon represents my husband Leroy’s childhood. He was an Oklahoma farm boy who joyously received a new red wagon each year until he reached a certain age. The year he opened a gift of underwear, he knew the red wagon days were over. Leroy is a blues guitarist –– who could resist these tiny axes. My husband is also an artist with a pretty cool website.
This is my first ornament purchase. I bought it on sale at the drug store in Lake Oswego, Oregon, when I was eighteen.
I know this is a shamefully sentimental post, but I guess, sometimes, that’s what blogs are for. I’m not going to wax too poetic about what ornaments really mean to me. Let me just say they are an inexpensive way to express myself, once a year. Each year, I try to do something different with our tree. Like vases, and roses, you can never have too many “treasures.”
PS You might wonder how the frog is an ornament. It originally had a little brass ring on its back, which I removed.