Growing up, I remember how much fun we had every year getting out the Christmas ornaments for the tree and reliving the memories. There were the delicate balsa wood birds my dad had made when they were very first married, and the fascinating blue amulet from Greece that Jesse’s birth-midwife gave him as a baby to ward off the evil eye. One of my favorites was a little salt dough ornament that our beloved pet rat, Walker, had nibbled the foot off one year. We kept it even though it was a little mangled, to remind us of her.
Now that I’m all grown up with my own family and Christmas tree, I’ve had some time to collect my own ornaments. Here’s a sampling, in no particular order.
I got this little angel at a wedding shower for Tony’s best friend’s fiancee (the one who got engaged thanks to the famous bottle of Brut cologne). It’s the only ornament we have from our very first Christmas tree, since most of the “ornaments” we used to decorate it were not ornaments at all, just oddments out of my sewing box.
In fact, here’s a picture of our first little tree (with the angel playing tree topper) next to my seven-months-pregnant belly. Merry Christmas.
My very first paying job was giving piano lessons to some fellow homeschoolers when I was twelve or thirteen. I would ride my bike over to their house every week, and I got paid $5 a lesson. One Christmas they made me this lovely wheat doll treble clef.
On my mission in Chile we were knocking on doors one day and were surprised to encounter a woman from China. She had moved there with the Chinese company she worked for. We gave her Spanish lessons, and she was also fascinated to hear about our church, since she was completely unfamiliar with any form of Christianity. Before I left the area, she gave me this cool miniature Chinese mask. It’s actually a bottle opener on a keychain, but I think it looks pretty darn awesome on a Christmas tree.
This next one is from my mission too. One of my companions was from La Paz, Bolivia. She had all sorts of fascinating stories to tell about her life in a tiny mountain village, where she became a sort of de facto mother to her younger siblings at the age of nine. It’s a miniature of a monolith from the UNESCO world heritage site at Tiwanaku near her home in Bolivia.
And here’s our beloved tree topper. It’s hand-crafted by a tinsmith in San Diego’s Old Town.
You can find these stars all over San Diego. The El Torito where we used to go and drown our stresses in tacos when we lived in La Jolla and were running our business had a beautiful dining room with dozens of huge stars hanging from the ceiling. Here’s a picture of some larger, more intricate examples at the tinsmith’s shop.