There is one lasting thing a mother can do for her children that will last throughout the years. That is to create a simple ornament box to house special Christmas ornaments. Add to it each year and when they strike out on their own one day or marry, they will have a special Christmas tree for their very first Christmas and for the years to follow.
My mother started one for me when I was a little girl. She added Christmas ornaments to it each year and as I became older, I did the same. On my Christmas trees today, I have ornaments that speak through the generations. In my box she thoughtfully added some tin ornaments that were on my parents’ first Christmas tree from when they married in 1949. They are simple balls and bells in various colors, but they are absolutely priceless to me.
How to Get Started with a Christmas Ornament Box
You do not have to clear out the Christmas decorations at your local gift shop. Purchase a nice box. You do want it to be secure and somewhat airtight. There are some manufacturers that today make plastic containers just for ornaments. My first ornament box was one of those large popcorn tins, which my mother had cleaned out. I still use it today to layer lightweight fragile ornaments inside. Give this box to your child as a gift under this year’s Christmas tree.
Also under the tree, purchase one or two special ornaments. Your child will want to hang them on the Christmas tree when they open the gifts. These ornaments could be of a favorite college or professional ball team. If your daughter is a dancer, a Nutcracker ornament might be a nice gift. On the bottom of each ornament or in a non-conspicuous place, write the year on the ornament with a permanent felt tip marker. When my husband and I had our first child, we had a budgeted Christmas and very little money. For Christmas, we gave each other an ornament we had made ourselves. He is an employed by United Parcel Service (UPS) and he gave me a little UPS die-cast truck he had fashioned into an ornament. It is one of my prized possessions.
When Christmas is over and you begin packing up the tree, sort your child’s ornaments into a separate pile. This may include anything from a Baby’s First Christmas ornament to a handmade ornament from your child’s school. Put anything back into the original box if at all possible. For other handcrafted Christmas ornaments, wrap lightly in tissue paper and then insert into plastic reusable bags that have zipper tops. I use freezer bags because they are thicker and easier to write upon with a permanent magic marker. I label each one and then use this same bag and tissue paper year after year.
Expanding a Christmas Ornament Box
You fill find that your child’s ornament box will grow easily through the years. Once relatives and friends discover your child has an ornament collection, they will begin to add Christmas ornaments onto wrapped presents and will give some Christmas ornaments as small gifts themselves. There is no end to character Christmas ornaments today. You can find anything from Santas to angels to hand blown churches to fairies.
When you travel to small hamlets and villages across the United States, you will find many of them have Christmas shops year-round. No matter what the season, pick up a small ornament or two that is unique or even reflective of that area. For example, I have tiny wooden grand piano ornaments from Cherokee, North Carolina. I have a tiny Biltmore House from Asheville, North Carolina. I even have a Dancing Banana ornament that I picked up in Helen, Georgia. This one has become a favorite of the kids and my only regret was that I only purchased one. So I gave it to my son. To my daughter I gave tiny bejeweled hand mirrors that I picked up in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Eventually, you may want to purchase each child a small tree for their bedrooms. I did this last year and they use their ornaments on their tree. They both chose a white artificial tree that was pre-lit with colored lights. My daughter’s has hot pink ornaments with lace and beads and is very girly. It blends in well with the Barbie dolls that decorate her bedroom. My son loves anything to do with outer space and the universe, so he has a lot of metallic Christmas decorations as well as rocket ships. There is, however, a very prominent Dancing Banana among the glittering stars.