Every year I get an ornament for the tree that has the date somewhere on it. Fortunately, Hallmark and various other stores sell tons of dated ornaments, so the hard part is usually picking out just one. This year, my mom and I baked like maniacs for 3 days straight, so this ornament seemed most appropriate.
Another addition to the tree this year was this tiny copper skillet. I told J that I bought it to commemorate my going back to work at Williams-Sonoma, but the truth is that I just couldn't resist the cuteness of an actual skillet that was so small.
Another contribution from Embry is this beautiful glass ornament that I use as our dated one for last year. A student at Embry's school has parents who are glass artists, and as a special treat, they allowed any student who wanted, to blow their own glass ornament! The kids picked their colors and blew into a long tube to form the hollow glass ball. I'm so glad that we let Embry make one. You can't see in this picture, but it has her name and the date engraved on the top.
Some of our dated ornaments signify an important event that occurred that year. For example, Embry and Matthew each have their own ornament for the year they were born. This one is dated 2003 and was picked out to celebrate mine and J's first Christmas after we got married. (You can tell I really like ornaments with tiny food on them). Little champagne glasses and little chocolate covered strawberries. So cute!
This next one takes tiny cuteness to a whole new level! On the outside it appears to be a simple painted matchbox. But when you open it up...
...it's actually a tiny nativity scene! I left my hand in the frame on purpose to show how adorably small this one is. The characters inside are three dimensional figurines painted with amazing detail. My brother gave this one to me several years ago, and it is still one of my favorites.
This one was given to me this year by my Mom. There's no date on it, but I do specifically remember making it when I was little. I love that stuff like this has survived. Both of the kids were so fascinated by the idea that I was once small and made stuff like that.
Although it doesn't go on the tree, this next decoration is one of my most precious. It's an angel that was given to me by a little girl who lived down the street from me when I was about 5 or 6 years old. At the time, we lived in the middle of nowhere and I didn't have a lot of playmates. I have no idea what happened to her (we moved away the next year), but I have always loved this angel and I put it out every year.
The bells were hung on the Christmas tree at my grandparent's house every year, even long after my great-grandmother passed away. One of my fondest childhood memories was of my brother and I arriving at Grandma's house on Christmas morning and finding our bells on the tree. We would always argue over who's bell was in the most optimum position. Higher on the tree and more towards the front obviously meant that Grandma loved me more.
*Notice the red bell near the top... that one is mine ;)
These are just a few of my favorites. Almost every ornament that goes on the tree has a memory or a person associated with it. That must be why I cherish so much putting up the tree every year, and why it makes me sad to take it down. Maybe some day, when I'm rich and I live in a big fancy house (that someone else cleans), I'll have a second "Martha Stewart" tree that gets all of the color coordinated bows and ornaments in concentric circles. But for now, I am very content with my hodgepodge tree full of memories.