The Johnson family Christmas tree, 2018.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house. We decorated our Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon and I have to say, I think it’s my favorite one  – ever! Even though most of the ornaments are the same ones we’ve put on for many, many years, there’s just something about this year’s tree…

From Rebekah’s construction paper mosaic pre-school angel to Mama’s porcelain Belleek angel to my friend Kelly’s needlepoint angel with tiny little bells – every single one of the ornaments on our Christmas tree represents a special memory.

The angel ornament my friend Kelly stitched for me has tiny little bells attached to the ribbon streamers.

First to go on the Christmas tree are the store-bought ornaments.

There are olive wood crosses and nativities from Mama and Daddy’s visits to Israel. And teddy bears and snowmen and rocking horses from Rebekah’s childhood. There are souvenirs from our travels, snowflakes of all shapes and sizes, and sheep. Lots and lots of sheep. (tee hee!)

And cardinals. The cardinal is my favorite of all the songbirds. It was my Aunt Marcie’s favorite, too. She was my special aunt – and a maker at heart.

I love this quote about cardinals…

“A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair to let you know they will always be with you. Look for them, they’ll appear.”

Click here to read more about cardinals and symbolism.

Next, we hang the handmade ornaments.

These are the ones that are the most precious – our family treasures. Some are pre-school keepsakes: a glittery construction paper candy cane; paper plate baby Jesus colorfully embellished with crayons the way that only a two-year-old can manage; a popsicle stick Star of David; a praying angel embellished with Rebekah’s wee handprint; and a stocking covered in a rainbow of tiny balls of wadded up tissue paper.

Rebekah's tiny handprint angel from pre-school is one of my most treasured ornaments.

The needlepoint ornaments go on next. Those I’ve stitched and kept are few and far between – a situation I plan to remedy in 2019. I have several pieces ready for finishing. Maybe I should hang them on the tree anyway?! ????

Gingerbread man by Princess and Me Designs.

And the little cross stitch ornaments from our very first Christmas in 1983? Well, they’re the last of the handmade ornaments to go on the tree. I save them until the end, nestling each one in between the others already on the tree so they’re tucked in all safe and sound.

One of the many cross stitch ornaments I stitched for our first Christmas in 1983...

Finally, we add the candy canes. I don’t remember when – or how – that became a tradition, but those candy canes are almost as important as the ornaments. (tee hee!)

Do you have a favorite ornament?

Is it one that you stitched? Or is it one that you received as a gift? Tell me about it in the comments box below and I’ll enter your name into a drawing to be held on New Year’s Eve. ????

Until next time, happy stitching and Merry Christmas!

Stitch with a smile!





    December 19, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    What a treasure trove of memories your tree is, and it’s so full of life! It’s a true classic American Tree!!!! Lovely, lovely, and more lovely.

    My favorite ornaments are the ones I remember from my childhood & still have, those made by my son and grandson, and those with the annual photos. Actually, they are all favorites, and that is why they are there on the tree: those collected over the years, the ones my mother collected, the ones my grandson gives me, and all the other beautiful memories. Love my Wallace Silver Bells, my Rachel Ashwell beaded tree and the special collectible tiny Shiny Brites, the vintage Shiny Brites, and the Crystal collection, too. My silver ornaments and pet photo ornaments. Baby’s Firsts. Very sentimental … I try to add every year. Now it’s going to be needlepointed ornaments, which are so much fun. I am working on four right now for next year!

    • Ellen Johnson

      January 5, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Awww… thank you Pamela! And your tree sounds wonderful, too! In fact, I can close my eyes and picture it from your vividly detailed description.

      It’s always like opening a box of memories every time I unpack my ornaments. Some of them may actually stay out this year so I can enjoy them for more than just a few weeks. I have a few ornaments on my “to-do” list for this year, but not nearly enough, so I’m sure I’ll be adding more. (tee hee!)

      Thank you for sharing your tree with me.
      Ellen ❤️

  2. Susan Westfall

    December 21, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    We used to top our tree with the angel that was on my Mommy and Daddy’s first tree in 1941. It is now unable to stand on top of the tree so we nestle it among the branches. I can remember helping my Daddy put new wings on her when I was in grade school. My second favorite Christmas tree memory is one from my single days. I had a small tree that was decorated entirely in metal shavings from my Uncle’s machine. Even the garland was metal.

    • Ellen Johnson

      January 5, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      What wonderful memories, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing them with me and our Circle of Friends. Your angel is truly an heirloom treasure. And your “all metal” tree sounds amazing!


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