There are so many things I want to teach my children, and I admit that some days when they have my nerves jangled teaching them is the last thing I have on my mind. Of course there are the biggies, like being good citizens, using their manners at all times, having a good work ethic, and being happy, delightful individuals to name just a few. I also want them to pass things down to their children and grandchildren someday....pumpkin muffins on the first day of school, dressing up to go to the Kennedy Center or any Theater for that matter, crazy-mixed up dinner nights, anything goes at Gabbey's house, Mimi's amazing pork tenderloin recipe, Maw-Maw's amazing potato salad and chicken salad recipe, saying grace before every meal and each person taking a turn to tell what they are thankful for or praying for that day, Christmas Eve memories to last a lifetime and I could go on, and on. One of the biggest things I hope my kids pass down is the yearly Christmas ornament tradition.
This tradition started when Becki, Michael and I were very young and would celebrate Christmas with our Nanny Russell (my maternal great grandmother), who passed away last month at the age of 95. Every year we would hold those beautifully wrapped presents and wonder what could it be? Is it that cool new boombox I want? Nope package is too small. Is it a new video game for the Atari? Nope package is too small. Is it that cute Bermuda bag that I've been wanting forever? Nope package is too small. I just aged myself with all that -- didn't I? Anyhow -- those small packages always revealed a new Christmas ornament, handmade by Nanny Russell. Sometimes they had our names on them in glitter, sometimes they were these intricately detailed sequin covered ornaments in the shape of a hot air balloon. Each year until we were in our late teenage years she did this for us. I did not understand the beauty of this gift until I got married and had children and we started to build our very own Christmas Tree.
Every year we take the kids shopping for an ornament they love. We come home, I paint the date on the bottom and they hang it on the tree. This year, thanks to an amazing idea from my friend, Mary -- I will take pictures of each the ornaments when they come out of storage and journal the significance of the ornament. Kate will have her own scrapbook and Wilson will have his own. Then when they are heading out to their first home away from home I can hand them their box of ornaments with their scrapbook. Each child also gets a nutcracker each year that I paint the date on the bottom, I will include these in that scrapbook as well.
In addition to the store bought ornaments, I make an ornament each year to share with my family. Becki loves this tradition so much. There have been the light bulb snowmen, the ribbon candy, monogrammed name ornaments, fingerprint embossed snowmen, fingerprint embossed rudolph, microscope slide picture ornaments, and I know there are many others I can't remember.
While some of my friends would not even think of having a handmade ornament on their amazingly glamorous Christmas Tree, I am different. I love the mix of glamorous ornaments, the handmade, the handprint each of the kids made in preschool, Keil's ornaments from when he was a child, ornaments from places we've been as a family and of course my ornaments from Nanny Russell. I'm all about the meaningful ornaments.
So as I sit here and brainstorm about my love gift ornament for this year, I wonder, what can I make this year that will be meaningful and memorable?
I don't have any pictures of the ornaments I've made except for two -- I'm going to do that next weekend when I put the tree up. Here are the two microscope slide ornaments I did:
If anyone has any great ideas for love gift ornaments, let me know :) I haven't come up with anything yet.
Until the next craft,