Jiving Us That We Were VooDoo

Christmases Long, Long Ago

Over the past ten years or so, my parents have been slowly down-sizing their Christmas decorating.  They've found a full-size tree is just too much in their condo, and have replaced it with a tabletop tree.  While they still deck the halls, it's just become more . . . manageable.  

With many boxes of unused and not-seen-in-years holiday decor lurking in their basement, my Mom and Dad decided to KonMari their Christmas decorations -- and I volunteered to assist.

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On Saturday, we carefully went through each box of decorations and ornaments, dividing everything into the usual categories: Keep, Pitch, Goodwill.  But this time, we also knew that some of the ornaments would be going to my sister and I -- and to our kids.  (Those garland beads my Mom is dealing with?  Goodwill.)

My Mom and Dad and I had such a great time . . . revisiting Christmases long, long ago as we worked through the boxes.  It's hard to part with old holiday decorations and ornaments when they hold so many happy memories -- even when they haven't been unpacked or used for many years.  I think it helped my Mom and Dad to know that their most meaningful decorations were going to be welcomed by me and my sister and our children.

Take this angel tree-topper, for example.

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My Mom and Dad bought this little angel to top their very first Christmas tree (back in 1956).  My Mom remembers that it was very cheap -- and was meant to just get them through until they could afford something nicer.  Instead, it topped every full-size tree they ever had -- including all of my childhood Christmas trees - becoming more precious over time.  (She's now safely packed away with my Christmas decorations, ready to make an appearance somewhere in my house next December.)

Or these rather ratty-looking ornaments.

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The bell . . . was one of a set of (I think) eight.  They were plastic and "touchable" -- and my Mom and Dad got them when their toddler (that would be me) noticed (ahem) the ornaments on the tree.  As an older child, I remember that we always hung the bells near the bottom of the tree -- for tradition's sake.  My sister and I loved to sit under the tree, and spin those bells . . . dreaming of Santa Claus and the wonders of Christmas morning.  Now, only two of the original bells remain -- one for me, and one for my sister.

The foil ball . . . was one of a set of four - red, green, silver, and blue.  I actually remember when my Mom bought them from Junior Achievement students selling them door-to-door.  I was in early elementary school, and I thought they looked like satellites!  So cool.  Again, just two remain.  One for me (red), and one for my sister (silver).

And, speaking of satellites . . . 

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My Mom and I made these "satellite" ornaments from kits when I was in about 4th or 5th grade.  Based on the precision of these bead-and-sequin beauties, I'm betting my Mom had me load up the pins, and she handled the placement.  (She was a very patient Mother.)

And more sequins . . . 

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We had several ornaments of this type on the Christmas trees of my childhood.  My Mom made several beautiful - and personalized - ornaments of styrofoam with rick-rack, sequins and special beads.  She let me help (I was probably in 2nd-3rd grade).  This is one of my creations.  Mine were much more . . . random . . . than my Mom's.  Here's were perfectly precise.  My sister was just young enough to not really be interested - or able - to join us in creating these ornaments.  She would've been in kindergarten at the time.  But she has fond memories of these special ornaments on our trees.

Speaking of sequins . . . this ornament is part of my family's Christmas Lore. . .

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MC.  (For Merry Christmas, of course.)  Yep.  I created this one.  I hung it proudly on the tree -- right in front! -- the year I made it.  But.  After that, it was always shoved to the back.  But only after a lot of laughing and good natured hilarity.  MC.  I'm so glad it survived!  

We painted ornaments, too.

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Sometimes (well . . . most times), my sister and I started strong.  But lost our focus toward the end!

My parents and I had a great time, sorting through the ornament boxes and sharing our memories of those long-ago Christmases.  And my own Christmas tree?  Well, it will be bursting with some "new" ornaments next year!



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I love those kind of ornaments best of all! And we had those plastic bells, too. And also the Styrofoam balls - I think my mom made them. She was, ummmm, less patient than your mom apparently.


I think we painted the same ornaments! What a nice way to spend the afternoon. I'm sure your Mom and Dad loved it.


I love ornaments that have some family history, especially those that are handmade or have a story. I cherish the ones that have been passed down to me from my parents and grandparents. I have memories of making ornaments with my grandmother and have many knitted, crocheted, & quilted ornaments that we made together. My mom was not crafty, but enjoyed whatever we made.


This is one of my favorite posts ever! Decorating the tree with these special ornaments is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Your MC is wonderful! We have our own foil satellite - multicolored and quite ratty, but it was hung proudly on the front of the tree this year, as always. I love that the joy and memories are getting distributed exponentially!

Cheryl S.

That's sweet that you have all of those handmade ornaments. What great memories they must hold.


My mother was pretty unsentimental about Christmas ornaments, so of course I am a maniacal collector of them...and they are loaded with memories. It was fun to travel memory lane with you!


Thank you for sharing your sweet memories. Our box of ornaments was also packed with many wonderful memories, but we never saw it again after mom died. I hope all the wonderful ornaments found new happy homes and they brought wonder to other little children.


Ornaments filled to the brim with so many memories - those are the best kind! My parents haven't put up a tree in many many years. But when they did - my Dad used to hang the old fashioned tinsel (which he still has) - strand by was gorgeous! Now they hang some ornaments from their dining room chandelier and call it Christmas - LOL! Then again, they are close to 90 - so they are allowed!

Linda in VA


Your Mom and Dad must mirror my husband and myself. (We are a little younger tho). I recognized the red/white ornament box in the background of the first photo. Yep have that and need to sort through it. The trains on the wall. Yep, he has trains and they are displayed on simple book cases that wrap around our second level (not the basement). Right now that picture could have been taken upstairs here. lol
And yes the box is still out as I need to decide and reorganize Christmas stuff from about 3 different places I've lived. Each time I had a major move/life change, it seems new Christmas ornaments had to be involved. :)


This year was the first Christmas without my 97 year old Mom. Last summer as we cleaned out her home the Christmas decorations brought back so many memories! We all chose ornaments to keep including the grandchildren. However, the vintage 1940's angel will pass year to year as we all share her as our tree topper.


What treasures y'all sorted through! My parents Kon-Mari'd their tree decorations when they moved to their current home back in 2002/2003 (I guess they were a full decade plus ahead of the times!). I've really enjoyed the ornaments that made their way to me, including their first tree-topper and a handful of ones I made/gave to them when I was growing up. They no longer put up a tree, but my mom has an amazing collection of Santas (she's promised to share ALL of them with me when I visit next week!) I gave Katie her ornaments two years ago, but I'm glad I still have Sara's... our tree is going to be really empty when she takes them! I'd love to hear how you're sharing ornaments with your kids!


Loved reading the memories and stories that go with your ornaments. They are quite similar to my own. I have a few ornaments from the first Christmas we were married (1970), a few that hung on my aunts' trees from the 1940s, and ones that I made and/or bought for my sons - one each year for roughly the first 18-20 years of their lives that they still want to hang on the family tree every year! And I painted that exact same set of little wooden ornaments one year. So many great stories & memories go with them all!


OH MY GOD! That was OUR tree topper!! Her dress was he most beautiful blue, and topped every tree in my childhood, as well; then came into my possession and topped mine, too, until...

Every year I have a little moment (or two) of sadness as I remember her little broken china head on my carpet after the tree was toppled by our cats.

I still have treasured ornaments from my mom and grandmothers...

One of my most wonderful Christmas memories is from just a few years ago when we had a slightly smaller fresh tree that was decorated with only the girls' ornaments. It was also decorated BY the girls while I just sat back to watch and listen while they worked... the memories of each ornament, little Christmas stories, laughter. It was one of the best things ever.

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