Sunday, December 9, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas Tree Ornaments

For my first but hopefully not only Advent/Christmas post this year, I decided to do a holiday mash-up: Advent calendar meets Catholic catechism disguised as the second-most-annoying Christmas song.* Each "window" on the Christmas tree opens to reveal a story about that ornament. You can sing along to the final verse at the bottom.

1--This clear glass ball filled with orange confetti and adorned with an Orioles logo is one of several tokens harkening back to our years in Charm City. (Another is the metal silhouette of the downtown skyline you can see next to the number "1" on the tree.) Both were gifts my father picked out.

2--When DH and I got married, good friends JS and DS gave us a beautiful boxed set of wedding-themed glass ornaments. Every year I make sure at least the bride and groom make it onto the tree.

3--Cookies, crafts, camping, songs--all things I associate with Girl Scouts. As a small reminder of those experiences, here is a beaded wreath I made in Juniors.

4--Wanting to do something different than the stereotypical angel tree topper (and secretly knowing I would not be able to find an angel I liked better than the one my parents have), I purchased this beaten-aluminum star made in Mexico from our local Ten Thousand Villages shop the first year we got a tree for our apartment.

5--Last Christmas DH's parents gave him a Klingon Bird of Prey ornament. You plug it into the socket of one of the lights on the tree, and it shoots photon torpedoes. Or at least that's what the manual that came with it claims.

6--Candy canes. Because every multi-media collage should have an edible component, and the apples the local farmers market sells are too big to tie onto the branches. Plus, I would eat all the apples. Every year DH says he will eat the candy canes, but he always forgets. So I will try to pawn half of these off on friends and end up throwing away the rest, since I discovered the hard way that rodents can smell pure sugary goodness through a sealed plastic bag. The year I tried to store a perfectly good box of unopened candy canes in the garage for the next Christmas I came back to a pure, sugary mess.

7--A German tradition is to hang a green glass pickle among the branches of the Christmas tree. Whoever finds it first will receive good luck (and an extra present!). With just the two of us, we take turns hiding the pickle. DH didn't do a very good job this time...

8--This is a ceramic snow hare perched on a long icicle. My grandparents brought me and my brothers one each as a souvenir after their cruise along the coast of Alaska. DH--channeling one of our pastors!--told me it looked like "a bunny sh*tting an icicle." I...I got nuthin' on that.

9--Being a musician and a music teacher, DH frequently receives music-themed gifts. Our tree boasts two of them this year: the metal eighth note you see here and an O-gauge wooden grand piano deeper in the branches. (On a related note, DH probably owns enough music-themed neckties to open his own kiosk at the mall. Our future children will be prohibited from taking this easy way out on Father's Day!)

10--I made this ornament out of a clam shell I found at the beach when we got engaged. It hangs from a rustic-looking piece of hemp with the tag "I can see what is important." TheKnot has taken down our website, or I would link you to that to read our story. Basically, in the morning DH lost his glasses in the surf, and while walking on the beach as the sun set that night, he proposed. While discussing our future together he uttered that line. Thankfully, I believed him.

11--This is a hand-made, cross-stitched Chrismon like the ones used to decorate the Christmas trees in the sanctuary of the church where I grew up (and met DH). The ladies of the church made them. Each one had a different symbol, like a crown, a sheep and shepherd's crook, or a fish. This one is a Star of David. I would guess it was purchased at the annual bazaar (or "bizarre," as the signs read one year).

12--This is a bear sitting in a wreath cross-stitched into an oval and fringed with white lace. My name and "1990" are written on the back, so I suspect it was a gift from my next-door neighbor or another of the elderly women who acted as "in-town grandparents" while we were growing up.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for,

"On the twelfth day of Christmas we decorate the tree (with) twelve kinds of cross-stitch, eleven cryptic Chrismons, ten smelly sea shells, nine nods to music, eight souvenirs, seven green glass pickles, six candy canes, fiiiiive Klingon birds-of-preeeeey, fo-ur metal stars, three beaded wreaths, two sparkly lovers, a-and o-one Or-i-oles ball!" Plus three strands of plastic beads and a string of white lights. Apologies about the scansion--I numbered the rectangles before I got around to writing the lyrics.

What's on your tree?

* Dear Husband is of the opinion that "Sleigh Ride" is the most annoying Christmas song. You are welcome to disagree with him in the comments.


  1. I think most pop holiday songs are annoying after the first five or ten times. ;-)

    You need a tribble to go with #5. In a battle between the tribble and #5, I suspect Erasmus would win.

  2. To me, "Little Drummer Boy" is the most obnoxious Christmas song ever. I can't even think of the title without it getting stuck in my head.

    My favorites, that are at least in the spirit of the holiday, are "Christmas Comes This Time Each Year" (because it's so dumb - legend has it that the Beach Boys were forced contractually to put out holiday songs and they didn't want to, so they came up with the stupidest things they could) and "Alien for Christmas" because it's fun. A lot of the classical stuff is really pretty though.

    Jews really don't have as many awesome holiday songs for this time of year. There are some good ones, but they don't get much play.

  3. Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart. Hands down. I compiled a list last year of the worst Christmas songs ever. I'll have to dig it up. It also included such "favorites" as "Christmas Shoes" and "Where's the line to see Jesus?"

  4. Actually, I have a Tribble!! It lives on my bureau. And I agree that Erasmus probably would win. I'll have to look up "Alien for Christmas"...

  5. I have three votes for "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer" (two relatives and a friend)

  6. Btw, here's a cartoon music video for "An Alien for Christmas." I think he's pretty cute!


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