Homemade: A Tradition of Christmas Ornaments

Regular readers may remember that making Christmas ornaments is a tradition here at Happy Acres. I’ve been making them since I was a teenager, and it actually was sort of a family tradition back then with my mother and several aunts joining in the fun too. I still have most of the ornaments I made back then, at least the ones I didn’t give away. I continued the tradition in my adult life, making ornaments occasionally, typically wooden ones. All of that means I have a lot of old homemade ornaments, and some of them usually find their way unto a tree each Christmas, like the one in the below photo that I painted back in 1990.

Christmas ornament from 1990 (click on any image to enlarge)

After I met my wife in 2005, I got into the tradition of making a new ornament every year. That first ornament was fashioned from a papier mache birdhouse I painted and sprinkled with glitter. It has a roof made of pine cone scales from a cone we found while out walking together. That ornament almost never came to be though, since we had parted ways in October that year. We got back together just in time to put up our first Christmas tree together, and I got the ornament made just in time for Christmas day. It has been on one of our trees ever since then. It is safe to say it has a lot of sentimental value to both of us.

Birdhouse from 2005

This year we decided not to put up a big tree, since we have young cat Ace in the house who is fascinated with anything that even remotely resembles a toy. One of his favorite pastimes lately is knocking over the wastebasket in my wife’s office and dragging out the contents all over the house. So we decided that a big tree with ornaments hanging on it might be too much of a temptation for him. We put up a small tree on the mantle above our gas fireplace in the hopes that it was up high enough to be less tempting. And so far he has behaved and stayed away from it.

Do I look like I would bother the tree?

With a smaller tree, it meant we had less room to display some of our favorite ornaments. We picked some of our favorites, and those with special meaning to us. And of course we had to leave room for a new ornament or two.

Christmas tree on fireplace mantle

As a gardener, I like to work in natural materials for my ornaments whenever I can. This year I am working with a glass ornament. That means I will need some special supplies, like paint made specifically for use on glass. I am going to borrow some of my wife’s Martha Stewart paint and stencils that Plaid sent her to demo. She did a great tutorial on using them back in November that I can reference. Now, I can just hear what some of you are thinking: “Dave is going Martha Stewart on us???”. Rest assured, that is probably the only time you will ever see my name and Martha’s in the same sentence!

supplies for 2012 ornament

My custom is to unveil the new ornament(s) on Christmas morning. Which means I have three days to get something made. I guess I better get going on this project then! I’ll be back next week with the finished ornament. Until then, Happy Growing to all of you gardeners out there, and wishing all of you a Happy Holiday season.

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5 Responses to Homemade: A Tradition of Christmas Ornaments

  1. Daphne says:

    I used to put a star on top of our tree that was made by my son. I loved it be he hated it so much. I told him I wouldn’t get rid of it until he made another. So last year he made one out of k’nex. So now that one sits on top of the tree. BTW my son is an adult, but is still in love with is k’nex.

  2. We used to have a cat that perfected, very carefully lifting one of the glass ornaments off our tree, and then he’d swat it across the room, directly into the tiled fireplace surround! I completely understand your hesitation to put up a big tempting tower of toys for Ace 😉 We still, even today, tie each ornament to our tree with ribbon, but even that likely wouldn’t foil the most determined feline. Looking forward to the big reveal! In the meantime, wishing you, and your family, a wonderful holiday season!

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