Memories On Branches (part one)…

I’ve been watching more than my share of Hallmark Christmas movies lately.  I just can’t seem to get enough of them, this year!  I have some old favorites, that I watch every year, but I’ve also been watching some new movies, such as The Christmas Ornament. In this movie, the main character refers to her Christmas ornaments as “memories on branches”, and that’s exactly how I feel about my Christmas ornaments, too!

Each ornament on my tree is special to me, and every ornament has a “memory” attached to it.  It was with a heavy heart, this year, that I had to leave many of my ornaments in their bags.  You see, we bought a new Christmas tree, and it’s smaller than our previous tree.  There’s no longer room for all of my favorites.  As a result, I had to pick and choose my memories on branches…

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“Rudy” is one of my oldest and most “deer” ornaments 🙂  Like me, he’s beginning to get a little ‘rough around the edges’, but this comes with age. Ed and I bought “Rudy”,( along with two other deer) the first Christmas we were married.  Fondly, I still remember the evening Ed and I went shopping for our first tree and all of its ornaments!  What fun we had choosing how to decorate our first Christmas tree!

“Rudy” and his brothers have hung on our trees for forty-one years. That’s a lot of Christmases! This year, I only hung “Rudy”.  Next year, I’ll give one of his brothers a turn.  “Rudy” (or his brothers) will always hold a place of honor, high upon our tree!

If you look closely, you will also notice a little gold ornament, to the right of “Rudy”.  This ornament belongs to our youngest son, Brad, who’s now 28.  The three little circles hanging down from the ‘angel baby’ contain Brad’s birth information, and yes, it says, 10 lbs, 9 oz.!  Ouch.

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Santa is another of my oldest ornaments.  He was purchased, along with Mrs. Claus, the first year Ed and I were married.  I purchased several of these Santas, which I’ve rotated through the years, so Santa doesn’t look quite as ‘rough’ as his friend “Rudy”.  For a while, these little ‘flocked’ ornaments and satin balls were quite popular.  Anybody else remember those days???

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This “Rudolph” technically belongs to our daughter. He was a gift from one of her teachers, when she was in elementary school– 30 years ago! “Rudolph” came bearing a Hershey’s kiss in his mouth, along with a little tag which read, “Squeeze my cheeks and I’ll give you a kiss!” Rudolph was always one of our children’s favorite ornaments when they were little.  They loved squeezing his cheeks to make his mouth pop open!

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This precious little bear is made from dough.  He’s only about 3 inches tall, and the tiny details on him are remarkable.  One Christmas, 23 years ago, a friend and co-worker of mine, made lots of these dough ornaments and sold them for extra Christmas money because she’d recently become a divorced mother of two. I bought this bear, an elf, and a baby Jesus in a manger, and I treasure each one of them.  

I think of Lynda every year when I hang her dough ornaments on the tree. I’m happy to say, Lynda’s now happily remarried, and is a retired teacher.

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I worked as a first grade paraprofessional for over fourteen years, and I love crafts! During the last of those fourteen years, I helped each my students make Christmas ornaments for their tree–not just paper ornaments, but ornaments that would stand the test of time. The elf in the above photo is one of those ornaments, and so is the angel below.

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I always enjoyed doing arts and crafts with our students, especially at Christmas!  These ornaments remind me of those happy times.  However, the Grinch ornament below reminds me of a not-so-happy time.

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Please notice the ’99’ on the bottom of the Grinch’s feet. This stands for the year 1999.

Ed had worked at our local, county hospital ( in Radiology) for twenty years, but due to poor management and tough economic times, the hospital had really been struggling the past few years.  It was just before the Christmas of ’99, when hospital administration announced they weren’t going to be able to make payroll.  Ouch!

Did I mention that our daughter worked at the hospital, too?   Well, she did!  Two members of our family were about to be without a paycheck–at Christmas!  Miracles do happen, and somehow, the hospital was able to borrow enough money to pay its employees at Christmas, and for a few more weeks afterward.

Shortly after Christmas, our daughter was able to find another job. In March of 2000, Ed  took another job, as well. This was a good move, because in April of 2000, the hospital closed its doors.

I’m happy to report, that this hospital has since been reopened, and is now doing well, after a second ‘near closure’.  (Many rural hospitals are struggling, these days, including the one where Ed is currently employed.)  

Every year, I hang the Grinch on our tree, as a reminder of the Christmas of 1999, when ‘the Grinch’ nearly stole our Christmas.

(to be continued…)

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Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 8:57 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a great idea for a post. Warning just might be stealing your idea – if not this year, maybe next year (God willing).
    You know that saying – Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

  2. What a fun, loving and terrific post.

    Your hodgepodge answers were terrific too. Oh my….the Christmas Tree and B B…what a disaster, and yet your MIL laughed about it…that shows what a wonderful, caring, woman she is.

    Merry Christmas Kathy.

  3. I have lots of memories on branches, too. It helps make the holidays sing for me! I enjoyed seeing your ornaments and learning about the memories attached!! Merry Christmas!!

  4. Reliving those memories is the best part about decorating a tree.


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