Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Life in Ornaments: Jessica

As Matt and I decorated our tree the other night, we reminisced about the many memories reflected in our ornaments. When we got married, both of our parents gave us "our" ornaments--those we had made or had been given to us--which hung on our family trees throughout our first 25 years.

I thought about what a story our Christmas tree tells, about our childhoods, our families of origin, the places we've been and things we've done, and about the family we've made together. And it is in that spirit that I bring you this three-part series, "A Life in Ornaments."

Today: Me!

My first Christmas was at six months old in 1981. Commemorating the occasion is this little brass kitten in a stocking, etched with "Jessica, 1981."

This little wooden lamb was a gift from my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cruikshank, Christmas 1986. We were her last class, as she died of breast cancer the following year.

As a child (and even now, I guess!) I loved cats and old-fashioned costumes. Nana and Grandpa gave me this little jumping-jack style ornament sometime between the ages of 9 and 12, I think.

I started playing the flute in 5th grade, and took lessons for four years. Mom gave me this ornament just a few years ago, so it doesn't date from that time (Willow Tree only came about in the 21st c., right?). The angel's original flute fell loose from her grasp and was lost a couple years ago, and replaced with this rustic twig.
In 1999, I graduated high school and headed off the Furman University, home of the Paladins! Yeah, I didn't know what a paladin was either, but quickly learned it was a knight.

Sophomore year, I went on a foreign study trip to Russia and Central Europe. I had long loved all things Russian, and my mom got me this gorgeous Radko ornament of St. Basil's Cathedral (the one in Red Square) that year. It's still one of my very favorites.

After Furman, I moved to Nashville for grad school at Vanderbilt, home of the... acorns? No, they're not the mascot, but the acorn and oak leaf are symbols of Vanderbilt, lucky charms of the Commodore himself, which you learn if you visit his home, the Biltmore Estate.

I met Matt my very first day in Nashville, in August 2003, and we were married in October 2006. This is one of the (many, many!) "our first Christmas" ornaments we got that year.

And in January 2009, Kate was born. I love this little Willow Tree medallion of a brunette mommy and baby. Kate was 11 months old on her first Christmas, looking quite like the big-baby/young-toddler reflected in this ornament. So sweet.

Tomorrow: Matt's life in ornaments!
What is your most treasured ornament?


Kristen P said...

Some of my most treasured ornaments are the silliest ones. I remember getting a lot of the Disney themed ones in my Happy Meals in the 80's, and a lot of homemade ones from elementary school. My grandma gave all the grandchildren engraved ornaments each year, which are always fun to go through, even though not all of them make it on the tree.
Then with a divorce and parents living in opposite parts of the country, I think some might have gotten lost or broken along the way. Last year my dad sent me a big box of whatever Christmas things he had of mine (I was 25, so I guess that is the age when parents decide they don't want your "treasures" anymore!).
Oh and my brother was born two weeks late on December 28, 1980, but my parents had already been gifted a bunch of "Baby's First Christmas: 1980" ornaments, even though his first Christmas wasn't until 1981! They kept a few because of the funny story behind it :)
I love your ornaments and the stories behind them!

Lisa H. said...

Jim and I get a new ornament each year with the date and a saying that marks the year for us. We started the first year we were together, so we're up to our eighth now. It's fun to go through them and remember the years..........I love decorating for the holidays!:)

SpeasHill said...

What a great post! I look forward to hearing about Matt's tuba ornament tomorrow. :)

When we got married, John and I started a tradition of getting a certain kind of ornament for each of us each year - as in, John picks out a snowflake and I pick out a star. We chose bells for Becca's theme and started buying hers for her in 2008. This was the first year she got to pick out her bell herself - big girl!

Sonya said...

My parents used to buy us all an ornament each year and then I had grandmothers that handmade ornaments for many years! We have a ton of my dated holiday ornaments on our tree!


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