Family Traditions - The Passing of Ornaments

Years ago, 33 years to be exact, my grandmother started a tradition. Every year at Christmas she would give me a new Christmas ornament. It was one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

The ornaments were always different. They usually included the year. Sometimes on the back, sometimes on the front. 
They might represent hobbies I was enjoying that year, sports I played, vacations we might have taken, or vacations my grandparents had taken. Or they reminded my grandmother of me. Some were funny, some were sweet. Each one was perfect. Much thought and love was put into every choice. 

As a child, when my mom pulled out the ornaments to decorate our tree, I would sit down to reminisce. I loved looking at all the ornaments and talking about them. Remembering where they were from and why my grandma gave them to me. 

When my husband and I got married we received lots of very nice gifts. Perhaps the most special of them all, came in a big silver box from my mother. 

She had taken all the ornaments that my grandmother had given to me over the years, all of them, and gave them to my husband and me. That had been the plan all along.

Our first Christmas we didn't have a naked tree. We had a tree filled with beautiful ornaments and memories. I sat with my husband and he patiently listened as I told him about each one. We carefully hung them and felt gratitude for the "full" tree and "full" hearts we had that year. 

When we had our first child my grandmother continued the tradition with him. He got one ornament before she passed away.

My grandfather carried on the tradition until he passed away, and now my mother has taken over. 

The grandkids get ornaments each year from my mother, their grandmother. 

I am not looking forward to them getting married any time soon. I am still coming to grips with the fact that our oldest is 8. (I know I just birthed him yesterday.)

I am looking forward to the day that I can wrap up all their ornaments in a silver box and give them their collection. I hope it brings them joy and peace and feelings of gratitude, just as it has for me, each and every Christmas Season. 

Do you have any favorite family traditions?


  1. That is actually our family tradition as well, except we each had our own little 3 ft tree in our bedrooms that we would put our treasures up on. My mom is continuing with my children also. It's a wonderful special tradition!

  2. We're ornamenters too!!! We do one each year at Christmas but we also buy ornaments when we go on vacation with the kids so that's their souvenir from the trip, a great way to remember the trip.

    My mom has amassed a huge Santa collection over the years and every year has picked out one for each grandchild to have and keep. I think they're lovely to have in my house now and for them to have later.

    The tradition that was started by the Christmas matriarch of our family, my grandmother, was to read a super old copy of The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve right before bed. When she died 7 years ago I thought the book disappeared but low and behold last year at Christmas it was wrapped under the tree for my kids from their "Grandma Susie". Heck I'm tearing up just thinking about it. I'm not sure where my grandfather had it these last few years but I sure am glad that we can read it this year!

  3. We do this too! My mom gets all the siblings an ornament of something that happened in the family that year.

    one time it was a hair dryer when my sister finished cosmetology school, a Marine when my brother enlisted. I am hoping this year my newlywed husband and I will be the ornament!

    Merry Christmas!

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