Every year I get really excited for Christmas! There are so many memories and traditions that bring a smile to my face; from going downtown to see the windows at Marshall Fields to creeping down to see my presents Christmas morning. I love when it snows. I love seeing the lights outside. I love gathering my friends together for a cookie exchange. But nothing compares to how much I love the Christmas tree. When I was younger my family would go up to Wisconsin and pick a tree at the farm to cut down. We would take it home and it would always be to big for our living room! And then we would pull out the boxes and boxes of ornaments my parents had collected throughout their lives and the ones they had started to gather for me. Now that I don’t live at home I still love seeing the tree and I miss being there to put each ornament up (and miss the debate of tinsel or no tinsel…). I still love searching for where some of my favorite ornaments ended up and telling the stories that go with them.
Matt and I continued this tradition at our apartment. Although we can’t really have a real tree we lug the tree box up and the few totes of ornaments we have started to collect (though I know when we do have a larger tree at least some of the ornaments from parent’s will be joining our collection quickly expanding our numbers) and we decorate the tree together. I still love to look at each one I’m putting up and think about where to put it… and maybe move some of the ones Matt put on the tree too. So in that spirit, I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite ornaments and the stories behind them.
Tartan Bear And Bagpipe Playing Santa:
These two came back with me from my semester abroad! Did you know I spent a semester at the University of St Andrews in Scotland? Well I did! Fall of my Junior year I went abroad and fell in love with Scotland. Maybe it’s the little bit of Scottish in my blood or the charm of the towns or the beauty of the highlands, but I can’t wait to go back. These are just two reminders of my time there and I love them both. I think I technically gave my mom the Santa as a Christmas present when I came back but somehow it ended up in my pile of ornaments when I moved, hopefully she doesn’t miss him!
This one probably seems really silly, but our dog Lola has always really only had one type of toy she likes… and it happens to be a stuffed pig lovingly named pinky. Lola is getting very old and we are facing the fact she wont always be with us, so when my mom found this ornament at Walmart this year she knew it would be the perfect addition to both of our collections.
Matt did not have a large collection when we started dating, so I have been giving him a few every year that I think really represent him. This fun ornament is from Dishique and features things from Matt’s hometown, Woodstock.
This ornament is a basic clear plastic ball, but it is filled with my tassel from High school graduation. I have one with my college tassel too. Did you know I attended an all-girls High school and a Women’s College? I think those experiences have really shaped the woman I am today.
… and Storm Trooper
One of the first ornaments I gave Matt. He made me watch Star Wars for the first time and now has gotten me into watching it. So, this one is for him.
The Bean/ Cloud Gate
As Chicagoans the Bean, or I guess the Cloud Gate, is a major symbol of our home. This fun depiction was found during a date to the Christkindle Market. If you are ever in Chicago at Christmas time go get some cider, a fun mug, a pretzel, and an ornament!
This little guy is one of the Christopher Radko Ornaments from my Mom’s collection. This little guy was gifted to me when I started my own tree. My mom has collected Radko ornaments for years, but mostly they all came from the Marshall Fields days because they always carried such a great collection. I actually thought Radko had stopped making ornaments after Marshall Fields was bought by Macy’s, only to learn this year that they are still around! This revelation made me so happy! Looks like I know another collection that will keep growing! This ornament also has an extra meaning because my mom started collecting/started my collection of Nutcrackers because I used to dance in the Nutcracker every year! So this ornament is a nod to Marshall Fields, to my Mom, and to my dance days!
Blown Glass Ornaments
These two were actually made by us! Matt and I first experienced up close glass blowing at the Glass Pumpkin Patch at the Morton Arboretum. So last year for Christmas I took Matt to actually make something. We ended up each getting to color and blow our own ornaments. These will always represent that day and they will always contain a bit of our breath which is kind of cool!
What is your favorite Christmas tradition? It can be hard to decide! While I write this I am sitting in the living room looking at my tree and thinking of even more ornaments that could have made this list!
Merry Christmas! Have some Hot Cocoa for me!