Monday, December 3, 2012

Traditions Old and New

I've shared with you some of our favorite family Christmas traditions. I've included photos of  my big impact, low stress decorating routines. And of course I've confessed some of my hormone-induced Christmas meltdowns.

Today I'd like to share one old Christmas tradition and one new one.

For years I've been putting our family Christmas card photo on a tree ornament. I write the year on the back with a sharpie. Any photo site such as MyPublisher or Shutterfly has this option. I've also had success with Walmart.com and Costco. I usually do it when ordering our cards, and if I forget, I just do it for a few years at a time. All of these sites make it super easy to upload a photo and order an ornament.

Here are two from past years:




Last year, our first Christmas without Jack, we started a simple new tradition I saw in a magazine. We save the piece of wood cut off the bottom of our tree and make a rustic ornament out of it.

Margaret writes the year with a sharpie, finds a ribbon to go through the hole, and hangs it on the tree.  Many trees have holes drilled in the bottom these days so they'll stand up at the tree lot, but if yours doesn't, you could staple or hot glue a ribbon to the back.

 Waiting for a ribbon...


Do you have any old or new traditions to share?

33 comments:

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

Several years ago, my grandmother moved out of state to be cared for by another relative, which meant that we wouldn't see her as often. The christmas after she moved, I decided that I would use the money she sent my family for Christmas to buy a new Christmas decoration. The first year, I bought a star for the tree, the next stocking holders, etc. I altways ell her what I have purchased, which is a blessing to her. And, I love taking the new decoration out every year.

Japolina said...

We don't celebrate Christmas (we do Hanukkah) but I love your new ornament tradition!

Jules said...

I love this idea of the tree ornament. That is really cool. I wish that we didn't have an artificial tree. I hope that you will still do your family photo ornaments. It may be hard for a few years to see that missing face but someday, you will be glad that you still did it. Maybe do that photo in your son's favorite place or hold something of his that will remind you that he is still with you all. Wishing your family happy memories this holiday.

Formerly known as Frau said...

I love the old and the new tradition. Those are the best ornaments really. Have a wonderful day!

Susie said...

Those are very nice traditions . xoxo, Susie

Em said...

I really really love te photo ornament tradition. Thank you for the idea. I'm going to go back in time and do a whole bunch.

Masala Chica said...

Yesterday as we decorated the Christmas tree, I realized how much the ornaments that had the kids baby pictures in them meant, or the really special ones that were important gifts. I never thought to have a tradition like that, but you have inspired me.
xo,
kiran

Anne said...

I started buying frosty friends ornaments for my daughter when she was a baby.They are sweet ornaments that look like little Eskimo children.We finally have enough to fill up a tree with snow flakes too.Another ornament I started collecting for her is Disney.She receives a new one every year.She has a large Disney collection in general she is always excited to get something to add to it.
Love your tradition you started.
We continue to pray for you all!
xx
Anne

Anonymous said...

We don't have Christmas china, but I do enjoy fussing over table settings and flowers.

I, for one, enjoy hearing about all holiday traditions, including Hanukkah, especially if those traditions involve good food.

What a wonderful example you're setting for Margaret by being so intentional about how you celebrate the holidays. Family rituals are so special and important, whatever the exact details are.

Gigi said...

We've tried really hard to have a new ornament every year to mark the year; but only recently have I been buying the photo ornaments. And I'm so glad that I have. But I love the idea of using the tree to make new ones - you could even modge-podge the photo of the family onto it - to blend the old and new together.

NanaDiana said...

We started the Elf on the Shelf tradition this year. I gifted one to each family on a family movie night here. I love your new tradition- xo Diana

From Tracie said...

I love the tree trunk ornament idea. That is brilliant. I have never had a real tree (we have an artificial one), but this makes me want one.

Fueled by coffee and Coke Zero....... said...

I do a smaller tree with the photo ornaments,ornaments that Stacey and Courtney made when they were in brownies back in the 80s, and any ornaments along those lines....Madison, Eden and michael's ornaments added now. we read a chapter of Jotham's Journey aloud every night of advent (I bought our copy from you at the VPC bookstore). I have a wonderful collection of Hanukkah picture books with great stories, and every night of hanukah, we light the menorah (I collect them......I have serious Jewish-envy), and have latkes.....either home made or from wegman's. Decorating the staircase was something I always did with a friend at her house as a kid, and now that we have a house once again with a stair case, it is again something special we do. last year we did the outside of our house with blue lights in memory of your Jack. This year, we have one the outside of the guest house with blue and white lights in memory of Jack. <3

Life Beautiful Toronto said...

this is a beautiful way to preserve the year, and not sure if you see what I see, but it seems that a wonderful heart has formed in the center of the piece for 2012 :)

Lady Jennie said...

I have a lot of traditions I would like to see happen, but the reality is, my husband is a fustian French person who has to be persuaded to even put up a tree. We do listen to Christmas music to death, and twice I baked cookies to give to the neighbors. One old lady asked me how much it would be (clearly not a tradition here). :-)

One crazed mommy said...

I love your traditions, both old and new! We do the elf on the shelf every year (Eli). Decorating is ALWAYS completed on the weekend following Thanksgiving...don't know if that's really considered tradition, or due to my daughter's birthday, my birthday, and then Christmas falling in that order and the weekends being full of friends and family...it's the only time we have to complete it...haha! We always go to the county park where they have the Holiday Festival of Lights - we collect the ornament they put out every year and have the entire collection from 1989 to 2011...haven't gotten this year's yet, but we will. :) My husband wants to do the two tree thing as well - the "adult" tree with our collection of gold ornaments and pretty baubles we've collected over the years, and one for the kids with Scooby Doo, M&M's, Elmo, their own creations, etc. I also have a snowman collection, and every year I get at least one new snowman item to add to the others...I am running out of room! :)

Elizabeth said...

This is totally unrelated to the post - but I went to Anthropologie last night and there are a few "Rare Bird" items you might enjoy :)

http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/clothes-sweaters/25913831.jsp

and

http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/clothes-sweaters/25749490.jsp

Meredith Self said...

We started the Elf tradition this holiday. Coco isn't scouting on the kids though, rather she is helping make merry/silly leading up to Christmas. Way more fun than an advent calendar.

We watch the movie Elf and must say phrases like "smiling is my favorite" and "so purply" as often as possible.

We leave clues for kids to find their present on Christmas morning (you know where I got THAT idea) and love it!

Trying to tone down the gift emphasis and up the giving jolly and kindness emphasis.

Love your ornaments! Love you!

Anonymous said...

ALL the traditions sound great.

@Lady Jennie, your crabby French lady story is AWESOME.

Rach said...

The year we lost Hannah we put up a "Hannah tree". Anyone who felt inclined was invited to select an ornament they felt embodied the spirit of our sparkly girl and send it for the tree.

Five years later, some folks still send an ornament each year. I too will pick up an ornament for her tree.

Because so many of the ornaments are dragonflies or butterflies and the majority are smothered in glitter and rhinestones, what could be a somber event turns into one of fun and delight as we put each ornament on the tree and remember how much our precious girl (and we) are loved.

In fact, I delight in trying to find the *perfect* ornament for her tree each year. :o)

I love the but from the tree idea. If we still had a "live" tree, I'd be all over it.

I pray this year is a bit easier than last.

Hugs to you all.

PeachPrenni said...

I love both of these traditions!! And I'm kicking myself for not thinking of the photo one a long time ago. Duh! The christmas tree piece is awesome too! We are going to start both of these! Our unique tradition revolves around my birthday being on Christmas Day. Mark and the kids make me a Christmas tree shaped birthday cake decorated with green icing and lots of candies as the ornaments. :) Happy Holidays! xo -Annie

Heather said...

this is our first year for a real tree so I'll be sure to cut a piece and do this idea!

Mama Mary said...

A few years ago we started taking a family trip to Disneyland the week before Thanksgiving. While there, I always buy a Disney ornament with the year on it so we can remember our trip. I am big on traditions! Love your new tradition of repurposing your tree every year and creating an ornament. xo

Em said...

Wanted to add that I buy an age-appropriate ornament of something I wished I could have bought Eva if she was here and put it on her Eva tree. This year it was a doll. A doll is what I most regret not buying her and I was glad I could 'buy' her a doll in this shape. This is our second Christmas without Eva but the first where I am not in a foggy shock so this tradition starts this year and I know it will continue. Oh, and I ordered family photo ornaments thanks to you-love it. Back ordered for a few years!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

What a great tradition, aren't you glad that you did that all these years? I cut a small branch off of the very first Christmas tree we ever had as a new family when my mom remarried. It is over 40 years old now. Of course it has no more needles on it but it's still special to me. :)

Theresa O said...

WOW, what two beautiful traditions Anna!! My mom does a tree full of just ornaments for her grandkids, different ones from every year with Zach and my nieces names & years on them...since my niece was a year old, and now she is 19. So that they can treasure those ornaments from my mom (Grandma) for years to come on their own tree as an adult!! As always, thinking of you, and hoping that God grants you with much peace through another holiday season. Huggggs!!!

SouthLakesMom said...

We do the White House ornaments for the tree and if we travel during the year, we pick up something to hang on the tree from that place -- not necessarily an ornament, but it becomes one.

I also have a collection of creches. I get a new one about every year but I have some rules -- I try to handmade, and/or not made in China. Last year after my mother in law's death, we discovered she had several of them stored away that were older than 50 years, and as I put them out this year with my collection I could think of her with some peace rather than the hurt she used to evoke.

SouthLakesMom said...

I meant to add that my favorite creche is the one my son John made in 1st grade at DCS. Those little cloth wrapped clothespin people are precious!

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Marinka said...

I'm a Jewess, but my husband has Christmas figurines that he displays. They usually stay out until May.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Those past ornaments are lovely. I have not done anything like that, past or present. I love your new tradition and I love the idea of having a piece from each years tree. ((HUGS))

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing!

I started reading your blog over a year ago through thishawksnest, a personal friend of mine. Would you pray for a family from our area today? Their baby is in Boston having had major surgery Tuesday and is not doing well. They are asking for lots of prayers today! www.dominicpio.com

Thanks and God bless your beautiful family and Jack. I think about you often and enjoy your updates.

Princess Kate said...

I love all your traditions. I've been thinking a lot about you and Jack's goodness. He is doing amazing things.