Homemade, handmade


There’s something special about homemade ornaments. Each one represents the skill and love of the person who made it.

Many of our ornaments date back to the 1970s, when families had little money and prices were skyrocketing due to inflation. My mother-in-law had a tree filled with clothespin superheroes, small needlework creations, special crafted things.

We inherited several of the homemade ornaments and added to them over the years. The toilet-paper-roll Santa, made by our daughter in kindergarten. My mother-in-law’s handmade lace snowflakes, starched and bright white against our (fake) tree. Metal ornaments made by our friend Sue. My husband’s steel and aluminum pieces, made after his workday at the metal shop was over.

The Good Ship Titanic is an exception. My husband bought the ship ornament and dubbed it Titanic, commemorating a year remarkable for its awfulness. The family survived the Titanic year, but that moment is frozen for us in a little ship that bobs on the tree, reminding us to be grateful.

A treasured keepsake


This 79-year-old ornament has traveled with me throughout my life.
This 79-year-old ornament has traveled with me throughout my life.



My parents were married in the spring of 1941, eight months before Pearl Harbor. My father was drafted into the Navy the following year. Because my mother was pregnant with my sister, he was given a six-month postponement and wouldn’t have to ship out until January, 1943.

December 1942 was a bittersweet time for my family; this was my sister’s first Christmas and could possibly be my father’s last.  My mother wanted to make it as festive as possible. This ornament was purchased that year, one of a set of six. Note the top holding the string is waxed paper; because of the war, metal was being rationed.

Fortunately my father survived the war and came home two years later. I arrived in November 1946 in time to celebrate a very merry peacetime Christmas!

This 79-year-old ornament has traveled with me throughout my life, decorating decades of Christmas trees, surviving many moving days and numerous playful cats. For me, one of the best parts of the holiday season is decorating the tree. I’m always amazed at how each ornament is filled with special memories of Christmases past.

ornaments, keepsakes, handmade, World War II, Christmas


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