Thursday's Child: Christmas Tree Ornaments

Thursday, September 15, 2011
Although we don't shop much when we're on holidays, there's one item that we search for every time we travel.  One of my favourite parts of any trip is choosing a Christmas tree ornament to bring home with us.

It's added new joy to the Christmas tradition of decorating our tree.  As I unwrap each ornament and hand it over to be hung, we talk about where we bought it and our memories of that trip.  Remember when we visited The Mouth of Truth in Rome?  We'll never forget it, but it's fun to have the ornament to remember it by, too:

Sometimes we search and search, and end up with something different than we expected.  When we couldn't find an ornament commemorating the entire Von Trapp clan in Salzburg, Austria, we had to settle for a rocking horse:

Like many of the best traditions, this one was handed down from my parents.  When we visited Santa's Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire in the 1970s, my parents were clever enough to pick up two elf ornaments.  Now Gwen and I each have one on our tree!

30 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

We do the same thing! The kids love hearing about all of them . . . even the ones we got before they were born. And they still talk about the ones that have since gotten broken and are no longer with us. Best tradition ever!

Mary Anne MacCrone said...

Sounds like a common tradition. I love to see the variety of ornaments when we travel. They are small enough to bring back and something that hopefully we can keep for many years to come. Strange that this year we missed out in buying one while away...Perhaps another vacation is required before we put up the tree!

Belinda said...

What a great tradition! Love how it all comes together to make this YOUR tree (love the fountain mouth!...too small to stick your hand in that one, eh?)

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a wonderful tradition! Almost all of our ornaments are many years old, and have been used over and over again--which brings its own memories. :)

Gloria said...

A lovely and nice tradition, I love all with Christmas, are beauty! gloria

Valerie said...

What a beautiful tradition, Beth! Each ornament has it's own special suitcase of memories. :)

Ruth said...

I love your photos, and I do the same thing. I have to ask tho - what are you doing thinking of Chrismtas ornaments in September???

Kayte said...

We always do that as well...such fun to remember all the places and times each year when we unpack them all. You are Canadian, you will love this: once we went to a Chinese exhibit at art museum in Montreal and there was a lady there painting eggs (looked like real eggs but they were not, unbreakable, etc.) and we bought one as it had a string to hang from a tree, so we figured Christmas tree ornament. The border police would not let us through customs with it as they thought it was a real egg and so we had to have them call the museum, the official museum director of the exhibit had to explain to the police what it was, etc., and we then got to bring it home. Took four and a half hours. I kid you not. We laugh at that one every time we put it on the tree. Mark always says, "This one, boys, is how we almost became Canadian as they almost wouldn't let us back into the States!" lol

Jess said...

Awwww, you're bringing back memories, Beth! The majority of our Christmas ornaments have stories too (we've got a lot of handmade ones sprinkled in that don't look so good, but have fond memories attached), and I love putting up the tree every year. Thanks for a hint of upcoming nostalgia (just 3 more months)!

Joanne said...

What a sweet thing to do, bringing the Christmas spirit with you all over the world as you search out the ornaments. Love the elf, it's so charming.

Beth said...

Great story, Kayte! I'm not sure I'd have stuck with it as long as you did, as much as I love my ornaments! I can see why it means a lot to you.

I'm not sure why Christmas ornaments in December, Ruth. I planned to write about a few travel traditions throughout September, and that was one I couldn't miss!

Barefeet In The Kitchen said...

What a lovely tradition! I love looking at my ornaments and remembering the beautiful people in my life who gifted them to me. I've lost all desire for a designer tree at this point. I'll happily keep my more unique one.

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Mom always taught us to bring back small, valuable/treasured objects, but I never thought about ornaments as a theme - I love that! Right now we have an assortment of figurines, but how quickly those could become flotsam.

Medeia Sharif said...

Great tradition. I love how each one is unique and carries memories.

Have a great weekend.

Allison said...

I love this tradition. I have a special place for each of my ornaments and I can't wait until my kids are old enough to care about the stories. Until then I will continue to talk the husbands ear off as we decorate.

Creepy Query Girl said...

adorable!

Raina said...

My family and I have this same tradition. It has made our Christmas tree extta special each year as we unwrap them and remember our time together at the place we visited. Your ornaments are from much more exciting places than mine, though:)

allieksmith said...

My family always buys ornament's as well!! I love the memories they carry :)

julie said...

We buy an ornament every year that symbolizes one big event we had during that time. It's such a neat memory building tradition to have!

Dulce Dough said...

What special ornaments and such a great tradition! We have also have special ornaments that we look forward to getting out every Christmas. I think it is great that you get yours on trips!

Miriam said...

Getting ready for Christams eh? Now that's the spirit!! Have a great weekend :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Angie's Recipes said...

Already in the mood for X'mas? ;-)) Love the ornaments.

Carol said...

Each one is so special and has such nice memories attached, a very lovely tradition!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

We've do the same thing when we travel. It's a great way to remember your vacation.

I love the rocking horse. :D

Lizzy said...

Gosh, what a wonderful tradition! So many nice memories come Christmastime~

Elaine said...

Oh, I love this post, Beth! I have ALWAYS done this since I was a child. If I can't find a Christmas ornament when I travel then I turn something that I have bought there into one. It is truly so much fun unwrapping every ornament, like you said, and takes you back to the very moment that you got it.

Pacheco Patty said...

This is a lovely tradition Beth and such an easy object to slip into your suitcase, I'm loving the change of the season to Fall and now a glimpse of Christmas from you, thanks for sharing the travel memories;-)

lapetitepancake said...

Is it Christmas already?!? ;)
That elf is pretty darn cute!

jillbert said...

I do this too, and I love it. It's fun to pull everything out once a year and then put it away so it's not sitting around gathering dust.

Amie Kaufman said...

You're kidding! We do the same thing! My favourite is either our ridiculous bear from Yosemite or the beautiful white and blue china from Amsterdam.

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