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Memory Ornaments – I

It’s no secret I love Christmas Magic. Soon after Thanksgiving each year, I look forward to all of the fun activities associated with the Christmas season. And I am a traditionalist who loves to do many of the same things year after year. Even though this may sound routine and boring to some, for me, each repeated activity brings back many fond memories of that same activity in previous years.


One of those repeated activities is obviously putting up the Christmas tree. But beyond just putting up and lighting the tree, getting out the ornaments and hanging them on the tree is a special reward savored after the effort of getting the tree up. And many of those ornaments hold special significance—as if they hold a little bit of Christmas magic in them. I know I have my favorites and my wife has hers. And this is a story about all those little magical objects.

Almost all of our ornaments live inside their original box in which I meticulously wrap them in following Christmas. As I get each one out of its box and hold it in my hand, I invariably pause to recall when we got that particular ornament. Some I pause for an extended period of time to marvel at the wonderful memories brought back looking at the miniature item. And then I pick that special spot where that ornament will show up well on the tree.


Our ornaments, some of which are seeing their 35th Christmas this year, fall into one of several different categories.


When we first got married and had very few ornaments, we had to buy a fairly large number just to keep our tree from looking bare. Some of the ones we purchased were boxes of four or more similar ornaments to try to get the most for our money. Seeing the ones left that haven’t gotten broken over the years takes me back to that very first tree decades ago.


Probably much to my wife’s chagrin, I have always had a special attraction to Hallmark ornaments and we have a large number of those.


Some of the ones we had on that first tree date back to even before we were married and are some of those round satin, year-dated ones.


The year after we married, we were in the town of my birth where a Christmas festival is held every year. But before seeing the lights on the river, we went to the gift shop of a dear friend of my parents that carried Hallmark ornaments. Although being on the pricey side for a single ornament, they were all half price since it was after Christmas so we were able to get several. This is probably what started my love for Hallmark ornaments, the vast selection they have (even more so today 35 years later).


Each year, year-dated editions of different “collector” series were released and I have numerous issues of their train series,


multiple car series,



and pedal-car series (see a trend here?).



Some of the ornaments we have are ones where we exchanged ornaments with friends as gifts to each other. Getting these out always brings back fond memories of the gift giver.


And some of the ornaments are ones we collect while travelling. So opening these always take me back to the trip we were on that year.


But part of this story is labeled “Do not open until Christmas” so it must be continued until after that special day…

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