Growing old doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
Throughout my 60 years of life, I have accumulated numerous memories of Christmases past and I have the ornaments to prove it. Glass ornaments from the ’50s and ’60s that were passed down to me from my parents are most special. I also have a weighty glass ornament that hung on my grandmother’s tree when she was a little girl in the early 1900s.
I usually get sentimental this time of the year as I decorate my tree with ornaments that allow me to reminisce or tell a story. For the past four decades, I have added a new ornament or hung a gifted one and it has raised my level of gratitude to “full.” One of my favorite memories was shopping for the perfect “souvenir” ornament from a day trip with my mother to the Gaslight Village boutique in Wyoming, N.Y. She picked out a shiny 4-inch golden Christmas stocking filled to the brim with toys and candy. And like all good mothers do, she managed to squeeze in a life lesson by reminding me to think of others during the holidays, and count my blessings because there are so many who do not have stockings to wear, let alone stockings to fill with gifts. Mom passed away two years ago.
Other holiday treasures include several stained-glass ornaments and a glass angel that were given to me by work friends and ornaments that I hand-painted when my girlfriends and I took a ceramics class together.
There are homemade craft ornaments made by my son as a young boy as well as ones made by his son.
There are picture frame ornaments with young nieces and nephews who are now in high school. I have yearly “Grandma” ornaments with photos of my grandson through the years as well as the ones that he bought for me in primary school on “Christmas Shopping Day.”
I have a gift ornament that says “Special Godmother” and a treasured Jim Shore classic, “Santa and Mrs. Claus.” Some kiddie favorites on my tree include SpongeBob SquarePants, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the chocolate M&M’s guys. There also are crocheted ornaments made by my husband’s grandmother and wooden sleds crafted by my late father-in-law.
One year, I purchased The 12 Days of Christmas ornaments and individually wrapped each day for family members. I even drove 45 minutes south of Buffalo to deliver some to my sister and each of her six adult children so that when they hung the ornament on their family tree each year, they would be reminded that even though our families lived miles apart, we were all still together in spirit.
One more very special ornament at the top of my tree is a 40-year-old papier mache clown that was a gift from my sister-in-law. She never missed an opportunity to send me something wonderful for special occasions, so it’s no surprise that she sent me the first ornament of my married life. It saddens me that she will never know just how much her thoughtfulness has meant to me over the years since she has recently been diagnosed with early signs of memory loss.
So instead of feeling old at 60, I am grateful for all the blessings in my life and thankful for all my ornament memories of Christmases past.