Monday, December 03, 2012

Advent Calendar: December 3, 2012 – Christmas Tree Ornaments

Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

When I was a little girl, my Mom decorated our Christmas tree with ornaments she bought from the Sears or Eaton’s catalogues. They were made of glass and, of course, fragile, so most of them didn’t survive over time. But, my sister and I were given the few that made it and now these ornaments decorate our trees.

When my husband and I married, we bought tree decorations that were slightly old-fashioned and reminded us of our childhood Christmases. I also bought ornaments that reflected special moments in our lives, like “Baby’s First Christmas” or “Thomas the Tank Engine”. (Our son Nicholas was only two years old when he started playing with that series of toys.) Family and friends also gave us some lovely ornaments over the years.

Christmas tree ornaments

Christmas tree ornaments

I can only think of one or two times when my sister and I strung popcorn to decorate our tree. It seemed like a lot of effort for two young girls and we broke more popcorn with the sewing needle than what made it onto the tree.

My sister and I, and later our younger brother, had our share of school-made ornaments (like angels and stars), as well as the ones that we received as gifts at Catechism class (mostly pop-up Nativity scenes).

There is one Christmas item that I definitely consider an heirloom. It isn’t a tree ornament, but it’s so important that it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it. It’s our crèche – the Nativity set – that holds pride of place under our tree. Mom bought it not long after she and Dad married. Made of wood, it measures about 21.5 cm x 33 cm (about 8½” x 13”). Overall, it’s in reasonable shape for something that’s about 55 years old. The angel and the little sheep have been repaired over the years (they are the two pieces that seem to break the most often), and there’s only one or two pieces of hay left. The crèche was handed to me by my Mom after Dad passed away, and one day, I will pass it to my son.

Belair Family crèche (Nativity set)
Belair Family crèche, with Patches the Cat, 2008.
Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.


  1. The creche is beautiful. What a very special family heirloom.

    I too love the unique ornaments given by friends or collected over time that hang on our Christmas tree. I see you have the same or very similar looking cranberry beads that adorn our Christmas tree as well!

  2. I didn't care for homemade popcorn-and-cranberry garlands as a youngster, but I sure like those mass-produced red beads! Thanks for commenting, Jana!

  3. It is good that you have Patches to keep that lovely Nativity safe.

    1. I was really lucky to find her resting by the Nativity set like that, Colleen. It gave me enough time to grab the camera to take her picture.