The time has come, so my daughter says – to haul the box of ornaments out of the garage, and put up the Christmas tree. My own ornament collection  is …  eccentric.  I’ve usually been celebrating the season on my own, since 1977 – and have all the memories of where I acquired them.

There are the two little yarn-doll ladies, with colorful crocheted skirts: they came from Denmark, through Great-Aunt Nan. They are the oldest: second to them are about thirty Styrofoam balls, covered with velvet or felt, trimmed with lace, gilt ribbons, fake seed-pearls and jewels, which  I made them in 1977 to adorn the little plastic tree in my barracks room.

In the 1980s, I bought a single box of ornaments from a high-end catalogue every year. The paper-mache globes covered with red and green curlicues, the stuffed teddy-bears with little scarves, and the vintage wooden airplanes are from that period. The airplanes  hang from the ends of the branches, as if they were whirling in some endless tree-shaped dog-fight.

The terra-cotta ornaments from Portugal which look like ginger-cookies are that vintage, and so are the wooden musical instruments.

I have a handful of Anri flying angels, bought when we drove across Europe in 1985, and dozens of traditional German wooden ornaments are from the 1990s. Santas on the backs of whales, or in the basket of a dirigible, angels and little sleds with piles of presents –all those came from TDY’s to Germany. The three little brass and glass lanterns – miniatures of a traditional Turkish lantern – came  from the NCO Wives Christmas bazaar, at Zaragoza AB.


So did the wooden ornaments cut out of flat scrap of wood and painted to look like a pineapple, the traditional Colonial American symbol of hospitality. All very traditional and conventional  . . .  and then until we get to the three Enterprise spaceships with their tiny blinking lights.


I bought the first of those when we came back to the States, the very year they first brought the Star Trek ornaments out. The little angel mouse with a dove in her hands is from Utah: a craft shop in the local mall.


The various other Hallmark ornaments were picked up on sale, usually just after Christmas. The Noah’s Ark is one of my favorites, being so very intricate and elaborate, with two pairs of tiny animals, and a miniscule dove with an olive-branch in it’s beak, flying around and around.


The little red handbag with a double string of beads for a handle – that was from a Christmas gift swap with the Red Hat ladies’s group.

Oh, it took all afternoon to set this all up, twine three strings of lights around it, set the poinsettia flowers in all the gaps left by the artificial branches, and hang the total accumulation.  But I don’t mind; it’s more than a Christmas tree – it’s a family history, a history that only families know.


  1. The joy of a tree is all the wonderful memories it evokes as you uncover the treasure each year. Designer trees are beautiful, but are best seen in commercial settings. Give me all my geegaws and precious memories of the kids and I’m happy. Thanks for sharing yours.

  2. You’re welcome! Merry Christmas to you and yours!