Christmas Ornament Memories, Part 2

I really had too many “special” ornaments on my Christmas tree to fit into one day, so here are some more.

This one is a leaf made out of clay. The color didn’t really come through in the picture, but it is glazed with a deep, shiny gold. It’s also very, very heavy for a Christmas ornament of its size, and you can probably see where it was broken in half one year and carefully glued back together. My Young Women’s president at church, Sharon Duqué, made these for all the Young Women one Christmas. In the northern California town where I grew up, there are still huge oak trees standing around town that are left over from before there were any people or houses. She traced real oak leaves, and each one was different.

Sharon was the most influential church leader I ever had, and a woman after my own heart. When I turned sixteen and became a Laurel, she gave me a copy of Jane Eyre as a birthday/welcome gift. I remember many happy hours spent at her house doing clay, participating in her piano recitals, and even babysitting her children, who were the only children I really enjoyed babysitting as a teenager, because you could actually talk to them and they would talk back intelligently.

Gail Glende was another dear adult friend from when I was a teenager. As a matter of fact, I recall I had more adult friends than teenage friends at the time. I traded giving her children piano lessons for art lessons from her. She taught me all sorts of unique things like woodburning, printing, and Ukrainian Easter eggs. The ones that really look like Ukrainian eggs hang on my parents’ tree, but these other fun eggs ended up on mine:

One year my mom got each of us counted cross-stitch ornament kits. So this is my very first counted cross-stitch project. First of . . . not very many. Isn’t it great that no matter how little experience you have with needlework, counted cross-stitch looks so perfect if you just follow the directions? I was tickled to see my little brother’s counted cross-stitch ornament also prominently displayed on his Christmas tree this year.

Tony and I got married on December 27th, so it was definitely a Christmas wedding. It turns out to be not the most convenient time in the world to celebrate an anniversary, but we weren’t thinking about that when we got married between BYU semesters so we could make it back to Provo in time for Tony to start classes in January. These little silver bells decorated someone’s wedding gift to us, and later hung on the rear-view mirror of our car for a couple of years because we  liked to sentimentally remind ourselves that “the honeymoon never ends.” The bells were eventually retired to an annual appearance on the Christmas tree, where every year they make me think of our Christmas wedding and those first few years in Provo, Utah.

We would usually go to my paternal grandparents’ house for Christmas when I was a child. It was typically the only time of the year when we saw our cousins. All of my dad’s five sisters have children close to my age, so we would have great fun together. My grandparents always gave us books for Christmas. I remember one year getting Charlotte’s Web, and another year a whole set of National Geographic books about animals. I still treasure the maroon and gold One Hundred and One Famous Poems they gave me for my tenth birthday, and memorized at least a dozen of them as a child. Grandma and Grandpa Bringhurst were on a mission to Chile one Christmas, but they still sent us Christmas presents. Grandma had crocheted us all tiny stockings and Copihues, the national flower of Chile. I think my parents still have the Copihues, but this is one of the stockings. Grandma always had a lot of these around her house at Christmas too.

Every summer during college I went back to work at the same law firm (except for that one summer when I rebelled and worked at a gas station making Blimpie sandwiches for truck drivers, and dated the guy with the tattoos and earrings). I was at the Legislative Intent Service when my mom called me to tell me that my mission call had come in the mail. I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inaugural gubernatorial address on a TV we set up for the occasion at the Legislative Intent Service. I remember everyone being sent home from work mid-morning on September 11th, because we were all just kind of milling around in a daze.

It was to the Legislative Intent Service that Tony brought flowers for my desk when we were dating. He also used to bring me lunch from I Love Teriyaki, and we would sit at the tables downstairs on my lunch hour and say smoochy things to each other, or have lover’s quarrels. It was to my co-workers at the Legislative Intent Service that I showed off my ring when we got engaged. And I think it was that very last Christmas that my lawyer bosses gave me and all my co-workers these Swarovski crystal ornaments.

And now that I’m even waxing sentimental about old jobs, I think I’d really better sign off. Have a lovely December day.