Putting Ornaments On The Tree

Yesterday I shared with you putting up our Christmas tree including the lights and bead garland. All that’s left is the fun part, the ornaments.  The first year after I had moved out of my Mom’s house, money was tight, so I couldn’t afford to buy all the ornaments it would have taken to fill up this tree, so I decided to improvise.  I’ve always liked pinecones, and thought they would look nice on the tree.  The only place I knew of where there was a free supply was our church cemetery.

So I went there to collect some, and while there I visited my Dad as well. He had died a few years earlier from cancer. I didn’t think he’d mind me stealing creatively aquiring pinecones from the cemetery. I came back home, attached hooks to the cones,

and filled my tree with them. And even though today I have plenty of ornaments, I still put up all the pinecones. They remind me of my dad, and also a time when money was tighter than now.

The pincones shared space that first year with this wooden horse and rider,

and wooden nutcracker,

both of which I had bought in my teens. Look, when you pull his string his arms and legs go up and down.  

Each year I’ve bought more and more until today I have too many for this tree and rotate them out from year to year. This quilted ball I made a couple years ago.

I made about a dozen of these that year and gave them as Christmas gifts.

This beaded one I made years and years ago from a kit as one of a pair.

The other one I gave to a loser boyfriend at the time. I wish I could get it back ’cause he sure didn’t deserve the love I put into making it. Grrr…  Sorry, that’s not very Christmas-minded of me.

This golden angel was another gift from my mom.

She had a set of these and every year when I was growing up they looked down at me from our tree. I think they were bought by my mom and dad shortly after they married, so this angel must be about 50 years old now.

Every Christmas I used to go to the local Ben Franklin store to add more ornaments to my growing collection. They had such a wide variety, anything you could think of, and I would wait until they went on sale to stock up.

That’s were I got several of these icicles,

stuffed gingerbread man hanging from a wooden spoon,

and a tiny birdfeeder with real birdseed.

My aunt Clare gave me this decoupage one.

My cousin Laura from Florida made this fabric bell for me.


These birds with clip-on feet, perfect for perching on the branches, came from the craft department at Walmart.

But the most important ornaments are these two,

always hung at the top and most prominant part of the tree. I bought them when I was a kid from our church. They sold Christmas ornaments from the back of the church every December. 

Last to go on the tree is the star,

a delicate metal frame with thin shell decoration, bought on clearance of course from Walmart. 

And so there you have it.  

A lifetime of memories on a tree. Oh and look, one of the first gifts is already under the tree….

Kitty, the gift that keeps on giving all year round.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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13 Responses

  1. JMart says:

    So glad you shared your tree trimming!! It is fun to learn what others enjoy. I loved your gingerbread man. Your little birdfeeder brought a smile to my face as I recalled a memory from years ago.
    One of my daughter made a similar one in Girl Scouts from a plastic pill bottle and red cardboard. It was filled with real birdseed and a tiny bird rested at the bottom. It was adorable and we carefully packed it away with all our Christmas collectables. Unfortunately for us, the birdseed contained some little weevils of some sort and the following year we had one Christmas box FULL of creepy crawlies!! Our lesson here is do not pack organic material in the Christmas boxes!!!!

    • Suzanne says:

      I lived in a not so airtight house trailer for a few years and one year I pulled my tree out and found that little mice had been there and left their calling cards… so gross.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Here’s a good tutorial on how to make the quilted ball ornament: http://crafterwithoutacat.blogspot.com/2009/08/ornament-tutorial.html

  3. Ruth in IA says:

    I love your tree, Suzanne. The ones with all the new and shiny decorations are beautiful, but the old fashioned ones with sentimental ornaments from through the years are the ones that touch my heart. Thank you for the link for the quilted ball ornament. I was about to ask if you could print directions for it. I will definitely be making some of those during the next year. Merry Christmas to you and Harland.

    • Suzanne says:

      I keep meaning to do a tutorial about those ornaments but just haven’t found the time. The directions in the link look pretty good though.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours Ruth.

  4. Debbie says:

    Enjoyed your stories about your ornaments!
    And your tree inspector!

    I almost feel inspired to go decorate my artificial tree now!
    I have put it up, but haven’t decorated it yet.
    And yes, I have 2 or 3 tree inspectors who will be watching my every move! (One of them is a dog who acts like a cat!)

  5. Alica says:

    I enjoy remembering where each of the ornaments come from too…thanks for sharing your memories!
    Every year I get the kids each an ornament from Mennonite Central Committee’s Ten Thousand Villages store…they sell fairly traded items hand made from countries around the world. I’m hoping that they will some day remember as they trim their own trees!

  6. Christmas tree ornaments sure to hold a lot of memories. I have quite a nice collection now too. Several that hubby and I each brought from our childhoods and those we’ve found along the way. Some years, I go after Christmas and look for nice new ones to add the next year.
    We give our God children an ornament every year so they’ll have a nice collection someday too.

  7. Louise S. says:

    That quilted ornament is to die for, so beautiful and PERFECT. Do you make quilts also?

    Loved the stories connected with the ornaments you display. Each of us have so many memories with each decoration we unpack for the season. Some are so bittersweet now that my darling husband is gone that I can’t go through the process.

    Hope you, Harland, and Kitty have a wonderful Christmas together.

    • Suzanne says:

      I’m so sorry about your husband Louise. My mom no longer put up the tree after my dad passed too. Hope you can find some healing in this Blessed season.
      I don’t quilt, but would like to someday when I have more time.
      Merry Christmas Louise!

  8. Doe of Mi. says:

    I enjoyed your ornament stories immensely. They sure are cute, pretty, and beautiful. What a great memory tree you have, love it. I don’t put mine up anymore – to hard for me to do. But, I still enjoy the memories – I have 3 balls (clear w/colored stripes) that were my grandma’s and seeing how I’m 71 now I can’t imagine how old those balls are but, I love them. And Thank You for your story. Have a wonderful Christmas with Harland and Kitty.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Suzanne- your tree is beautiful. Mine is up (a live tree the kids and I picked out from the Lions club), but it is crooked lol. (That’s the down part of a live tree). Merry Christmas to you and your family & Kitty. Thank you for sharing beautiful photos and recipes. I love your site because its down to earth.

  10. Your tree looks beautiful. I like trees that are decorated in memories too.

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