December 20, 2012

Keepsake Ornaments

I have lots of notions about what Christmas is "supposed" to be like.  I have no idea if they are accurate or not.  Growing up not celebrating Christmas, I would oftentimes be invited to join friends/boyfriends at their Christmases.  So I think I pretty much took a hodge podge of their traditions + movies/tv shows, etc and created "what Christmas should be" in my mind.  And now I strive to give my kids that Christmas.
A huge part of that involves the Christmas tree.  I remember decorating trees with families, and as they took out ornaments to hang each year, there were always stories, memories, laughs, was great.  So even though I usually opt for the pretty approach to things, I have decided that I really want our tree to be a collection of memories.  Obviously we are still relatively new to this thing and the kids are still pretty young, so our collection is only just beginning, but I'm thinking if we keep going at this rate, by the time the boys are in high school, we'll have a whole tree full of sentimental items!
I'll admit I'm a sucker for the "baby's first Christmas" ornaments and things, but I've found the best sentimental ornaments are actually the ones that are handmade.  So here's what I came up with this year.

This one is actually a repeat from last year, except this year I made one for Levi and one for Colton.  These are so easy to make (and cheap cost $1 for each for the wood block).  I just painted the wood block, selected 5 of my favorite pictures from the year (by far the hardest part!), sized the pictures appropriately, printed them out, cut them out, and mod podged those suckers on there.  Already, Colton loves looking at his from last year and talking about the pictures.."me eat cake, me have Halloween basket...", so I'm thinking these are going to be favorites for years to come.

If possible, this was even easier than the previous one!  I'm sure you've seen the idea on Pinterest, but basically it's decorated with our highlights of the year. I bought an ornament at AC Moore (on sale for $.60) and used a Sharpie to write them on there real quick.

And finally, each year I force the kids to the boys get their craft on.  We've done the plaster hand print and the salt dough ornaments in the past, but this year we went with the painted hand print on a glass ornament.  Here's the thing about these ornaments.   We're striving for memories here, not aesthetic...good thing too because neither child's hand print looks anything like an actual hand print!  But they make me smile...and I'm guessing that in another few years they'll make me smile (and maybe even tear up) even more when I see their tiny hand prints and remember making them with them (like the fact that Colton's first version...with really perfect hand prints...shattered on the ground).
Slowly but surely, our family ornament collection is growing.  How about you guys?  Do you do the sentimental tree or the pretty tree?  Or maybe there's a way to combine both?

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