Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh tannenbaum!

I have more tree ornaments to share - pictures that wouldn't fit on my other post. So I guess I'd better come up with more tree stories.

Someone had a Christmas "meme" on their blog that asked whether or not Santa left unwrapped presents under the tree. This brought so back so many memories, because at our house Santa did leave unwrapped presents. This, coupled with the fact that I always got way too excited about special things such as vacation trips and Christmas, meant that I had a hard time going to sleep the night before and woke up before the crack of dawn in the morning. I can well remember creeping out to the living room in the dark to see if Santa had come yet. The first time was usually sometime between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. The first trip was usually a quick one - just in case Santa was still there - and I'd only get a quick glance before running back to bed. Ten or fifteen minutes later I'd get braver so I'd get up again and stand at the doorway longer, trying to see underneath the tree in the dark. I'd look for big shapes that hadn't been there the night before. Then I'd run back to the room and dive back under the covers. After another 10 or 15 minutes I'd wake my sister - we shared the second bedroom in our tiny 2-bedroom home - and told her to come look with me. I usually had to coax a bit - she liked her sleep. By 5:00 or 5:30 I'd have made at least 4 to 5 trips, getting braver and a bit noisier each time. Finally our mom would wake up long enough to tell us to get our stockings and take them back to bed. That was enough to hold us until 6:30 so mom and dad could get a bit more sleep. I knew I was really growing up when there was nothing under the tree that hadn't been there the night before - one of the rude awakenings one receives when one begins to leave childhood behind.

Funny thing - by the time we were in high school we were singing in the youth choir at the 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve candlelight service, getting home about 12:30 am and to bed by 1:00. I can remember our mom coming into the room at 9:30 or 10:00 urging us out of bed because they wanted to open presents and have breakfast!

One year when I was in 6th grade a big box all wrapped in aluminum foil appeared beneath the tree with a mailing label on it. It was addressed to "The Johnsons" from "Your California Friends". This caused a great deal of speculation as to what it could possibly be. My mother said it must be oranges from her brother in southern California. We poked and prodded it but she wouldn't let us lift it "for fear of bruising the oranges". That was the first package we wanted to open Christmas morning. The box contained a brand new set of World Book Encyclopedias! Up until then we'd always had to borrow the Encyclopedia Britannica from the neighbors - which was really hard to read and understand - or go to the library when we needed information for school reports. Mom kept telling us we couldn't afford to buy a set for ourselves. That was in 1959, and we had them for years and years.

We got our poodle Shadow as a tiny black puppy in August 1991. We wrapped his presents in scraps of wrapping paper and put them under the tree that Christmas. We didn't think about the fact that they would smell like doggie treats. We came home from work that night and found the paper on his presents chewed up and the treats opened, with many eaten. It's a good thing he didn't have a tummy ache! I guess we didn't have that much experience with dogs and Christmas trees. The next year we wrapped his gifts and put them up in the branches of the tree. Shadow saw us hiding the gifts in the tree and immediately became suspicious. He began to sit in front of the tree and whine. Maybe he could still smell the treats. Every Christmas after that one of us had to entertain him in another room while the other put his gifts in the branches. Come Christmas morning, when he sees the rest of us opening presents, he immediately sits down in front of the tree and waits his turn, eyeing the branches trying to spot his presents. He is as bad as a little child!

This will be our last Christmas of adult-only gift giving. Two grandchildren will join us before Christmas next year. They won't be old enough to understand yet, but I know the focus will certainly shift - children make Christmas so much more wonderful.

Ornaments from top to bottom:

How many of you made these stuffed ornaments? They came printed on cotton cloth, two for each ornament with one reversed from the other. An entire set had between 8 and 15 or 16 different ornaments. I think they came out in the late 70's. I bought every set I could find. You cut them out stitched the two sides together and stuffed them with fiberfil. We still have them all - though our daughter "borrows" another one each year for their tree. I think there are at least 30-40 of them. She likes to tie them on all our door knobs too, and we use them to decorate the stairs.

When I was doing bazaars there was a couple who made the most marvelous ornaments from walnuts and hazelnuts. There were always at least 40 or 50 different ones to choose from, and they came out with new ones each year. One year I splurged and bought us each one. This is Fred's golfer.

A couple years ago my Tangled Thread friend Liz had us make these snowflakes at her house. They are cut from large mesh screen following a pattern, then dipped in glue and glitter. I believe she got the patterns off Martha Stewart's website. We each got three made during the meeting. They were lots of fun and look just great on the tree.

The one year I attended the Jan Patek Girl Gang monthly meetings at the primitive quilt shop in Battle Ground before it closed, we had a marvelous party with an ornament exchange for the December meeting. This primitive snowman is the ornament I received. I love it.

Any more I find myself looking for ornaments that have a folk art look to them. The Santa ornament on the bottom is one I found in a little country shop years ago. These days I especially love Jim Shore ornaments and try to buy a couple new ones each year. One of the things I'm really looking forward to when I retire is making lots of folk art ornaments for our tree - mostly quilty things of course!




19 comments:

Nadine said...

Oh, Patti, what a beautiful post ! And your photos are wonderful, too ! I had a good time, reading you.... Thanks !

Smiles,
NADINE

Carol said...

Patti thank you so much for your wonderful post...made me go way back to when I was a kid doing that very same thing...sneak out to the living room, take a quick peak, can't get caught...oh what fun. I made those stuffed ornaments in the 70's. Gave away several sets of those as gifts. Oh my such great memories.

Anonymous said...

I too was a nonsleeper on Christmas eve night... at least until I saw my stocking full and took it to bed with me -- then as the excitement abated a little sleep would take over.

Anonymous said...

wow i had so much to catch up on while i was away from the computer for a few days. Loved reading your post and seeing so many ornaments that you have. Thanks for sharing photos of your home too.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Lots of memories. Thanks for sharing the ornaments. I was going to pick out a favorite, but it's tough. I know you'll be looking forward to life with little ones at Christmas.

tracey said...

I've loved hearing about your Christmas memories. We couldn't peek when I was a kid. Our bedrooms were upstairs and the tree downstairs. There was no way to get down the steps without waking my parents because they were soooooooooooo creaky. Believe me, we tried, but never got past the second step before getting yelled at! :oP

Cher said...

lovely photos of your oraments! We haven't had a large enough tree for displaying our wonderful larger oraments in years...so it's been a pleasure to enjoy yours.

Libby said...

Your childhood excitement reminds me of my ownn -- I still like to wake up early and get the day started. The rest of the family grumbles, but secretly I think they like it *s*

McIrish Annie said...

Patti, thanks for the great stories with the pics of the ornaments. It brought back many Christmas memories for me!

Judy said...

What wonderful stories Patti! You certainly made me think about some things from ym childhood memories! I used to sneak donw all the time and with 6 kids, we all would pick out a spot for for the next morning and our Santa gifts always ended up in that spot. Kids don't realize anything like that coincidence!!

Our Santa packages were wrapped in green and red tissue paper and our names were written in big block lettering on the outside. Santa writes in block letters, you know. But we always had at least one present unwrapped.

What fun to remember these things now. With 11 nieces and nephews plus a great-nephew and great neice...we have had loads of kids for years! It's wonderful really to see them wonder at all the presents. You are in for such a treat next year!!

Richard said...

I love your ornament collection. It is so neet to read all of your fond memories. Not all of mine are so great. I do have a great ornament story for you though. Those stuffed ornaments === about the time that those ornaments came out we had a monkey. He loved to climb the christmas trees. So we had to find ways to decorate that wouldn't harm him or get the ornaments broken. We did it with cookies, oragamie and those stuffed ornaments. He thoght that the stuffed ornaments were ment for him so he would steel them, take them to his little sleeping box and "hide" them. After the 1st year of those ornaments & him we would buy 2 or 3 sets of any we got and made.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patti, your Christmas decorations are very beautiful!!!!Also I like to gather on the tree different decorations :))))

Anonymous said...

What beautiful ornaments and great memories you have shared. I remember sneaking down the stairs early in the morning too.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Just love your stories and your Christmas, such a beautiful read. Keep up the good work!

Katie said...

Ornaments are oh so great to bring back memories of when an where you got them. You certainly have some wonderful ones and so nicely displayed.

Anonymous said...

Patti, someone mentioned the idea that maybe if you go ahead and sign up for a Gmail account it might make the switch over to Beta easier. It's worth a try if you'd like to switch, so I thought I would metion it. I had to switch this morning due to being locked out and it did it fine with no issues. I just copied everything first in a word program.

JudyC

Rebekah Smith said...

I have sets of the stuffed ornaments too. They are my favorites. I made them for my first Christmas Tree on my own. They will always have a special place on my tree and in my heart.

Anonymous said...

How festive your house and tree looks. Mine is a disaster with stacks of things ready to be packed on Monday and not a single decoration in sight!

Anonymous said...

Patti I'm loving those stuffed ornaments from the 70s!

And the great stories you have about Christmas too.