Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Calendar - December 2 - Christmas Ornaments

[Note: This post is a recollection from a series of Advent Calendar posts which were originally part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted here at Destination: Austin Family in December 2007 with the assistance of the wonderful Jasia at Creative Gene.]

Christmas Ornaments - Not Just For The Tree Anymore

Okay, I admit it. I come up with some crazy ideas. Just as I write about my family history from very different perspectives than most, I do the same thing with Christmas ornaments. Leave it to me to put the "weird" in Christmas.

I have very defined tastes and even, friends say, "rules" about Christmas ornaments. No plastic. No garrish colors. No movement or music. No Disney or other cartoon characters. The same thing goes for Christmas lights. No blinkers, no bubbles, mini-lights only, white and lots of 'em - enough to cause a brown out on my block.

This year, as in the past, I've placed my collection of mercury glass and other ornaments in a large glass bowl. One year I used large crystal vases and placed them in there. Another year it was gold Pickard china bowls. I've even used small bowls and placed them in bedrooms or even bathrooms. There can never be too much Christmas, right?

When I lived in California, we never used our fireplace due to smog concerns. Also, I had grown up with wood stoves in the house so the fascination of cave-like living complete with fire was quickly lost on me. What to do? Well, fill the fireplace with lots of glass ball ornaments! First, I would place a string or two of mini-lights in the clean, empty fireplace. Then I would buy boxes of the cheap glass ball ornaments at Walgreens or Target. I would arrange them haphazardly and stack them up on each other. The effect with the lights turned on was great.

Finally, my preference is for ornaments that are handmade using nature's bounty. This year I am assembling ornaments made with walnuts, whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, dried orange slices, dried pomegranates, moss, feathers, cedar roses, star anise, dried roses and pinecones. You can learn how to make these over at my other blog, A Catskill Christmas (shameless plug).

I think you shouldn't be stuck hanging Christmas ornaments on a tree only. That's like not staying within the lines or not having green dogs when coloring.

Photo: My fireplace in California, not filled with ornaments just a lot of other crap I made, 1997.

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