Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fragile Treasures

My favorite Christmas ornament
approximately 1975
This fragile ornament is one of my favorites: I love the color and the peaceful scene on its surface, and I've photographed it many times over the years.

When I was growing up, the boxes of Christmas decorations were stored in the attic, a large unfinished space that was cold in the winter and could only be accessed through a small opening in the hallway ceiling just outside the bathroom door. Getting the boxes down from the attic was always the exciting beginning of the holiday and required a ladder: some years a straight ladder was brought into the house, but eventually, a step ladder was used. When the garage was built in the 70s, the tattered boxes were stored on the shelves and carried into the house. Storing the boxes in the garage made getting them easier, but it took some of the anticipation out of the process.

Even though some ornaments were never used, my mother kept them in the boxes, and each year, we sorted through the collection housed in the containers.

Opening the boxes of decorations was exciting and memorable. The tattered boxes contained a mixture of old and new: red and kinky, celluloid garland too old to use but never thrown away; dull-red, glass ornaments (the size of large grapefruit) that no longer had metal tops for hanging; boxes of glass ornaments of various sizes, some with stripes, some with paint, some plain; plastic prancing reindeer with broken legs and a plastic horn that had long ago lost its noise maker - despite their broken state, they were propped on the evergreen branches; ceramic ornaments (Raggedy Ann and Andy - see next photo) that my sister painted with each grandchild's name. Selecting fragile treasures from the boxes, my mother transformed the tree to a thing of beauty each year.

Marilyn painted a Raggedy Ann for each granddaughter and a Raggedy
Andy for each grandson. The ornaments hung on Grandma Rosie's tree
for many years. (photo taken approximately 1975)
Out of all my mother's ornaments, the blue one shown in the top photo was my favorite. I searched the tree each year until I found it, tucked near the truck. When my mother died, it was the ornament that I wanted for my own tree. It is now stored in a different box in the guest bedroom closet along with my eclectic ornament collection: Hallmark ornaments, travel souvenirs, bead garland, and a turkey wishbone. It is the ornament that I treasure the most and the presently the only traditional ornament I own.

Connie (Far Side of Fifty) has quite a collection of traditional and authentic Shiny Brite ornaments. Even though Connie has photos of her exclusive Shiny Brite tree on her blog, I would love to see it in person.

Do you have a treasured ornament?


  1. And it's beautiful. There are some ornaments that will just always be that much more special than the others.

  2. I don't suppose I ever had one particular favorite ornament, but as each ornament was taken out of the box we would recall where it came. We had some very old ornaments that belonged to my grandmother and those always went up high on the tree, so there was less chance of them being knocked off and broken.

  3. You're right! Those are treasures.

  4. I love this post; it so reminds me of my mom getting out the decorations and trimming the tree. She enjoyed doing it so much.

  5. Loved this post - and I too have a very eclectic collection of ornaments. Every year I have the chance to remember the place or the person or the event connected to every ornament. I love to search for something unique when I travel. And I too have a special treasure from my childhood tree: 2 little angels. My tradition has been to give my girls a special new ornament every year since they were born and now I'm doing the same for my grand-kids. I hope they all enjoy them as much as I have over the years.

  6. OH I love those Raggedy Ann and Andies and the lovely way your sister gave them to her nieces and nephews!
    Favorite ornaments: oh yes:
    A cloissene? bell with a poinsettia on it is a favorite , given me by my sister in law
    We have a tiny ambulance that I also love.
    I have a fragile Santa that has managed to stay intact ; it was given to me by a patient's family about 30 years ago!
    I love ornaments old and new.

  7. I love the one in the top photo. I do have one old ornament that I love and put on the tree every year.

  8. I like your ornaments a lot! I like watching my son decorate the tree. He likes to talk to me about the ornaments, which he has mainly picked out. I wasn't home last night and he wouldn't decorate the tree without me. Pretty sweet huh?

  9. Oh yes .....Stephen made an clay angel when he was in elementary school. It is the first ornament to go on the tree each year and she is placed front and center.

  10. treasured ornament. I think it would have to be the dogs ornaments. I just love them. I don't have any really special ornaments made by the girls. Your blue ball is lovely. g

  11. Does your blue ball say Silent Night on one side? They made that Church scene with and without the words. It is lovely Nancy. Today I was in an antique shop and purchased three more treasures..a large orange one very rare color and two pink ones...I am still in the process of decorating mine but I am off shopping now. After the holidays a few neighbor ladies would like to come over and see the tree...if you lived closer you would be more than welcome! I love each and every Shiny Brite,,,I marvel at the wonderful way they pick up the light:)

  12. I have several - many? - treasured ornaments. Thank you, Nancy. I need to make time and set up the tree this year so I can reconnect with my favorite ornaments. I haven't done a floor/full-sized tree since before Sissy was born, and she's 6!


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