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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Our little tree

Every ornament on my family's tree has some significance. The wooden ones were painted by mom when she was pregnant with my brother. The little skiing snowman was made by the mother of my best friend from third grade who moved away, leaving me bereft. And there's the stuffed crab from the "Little Mermaid" that McDonald's gave away, like, 13 years ago -- and even though my mother hates it, it ends up on the tree every year.

It's always my job to unwrap the ornaments, place them on the tree and explain their significance. This routine has probably worn thin on my family, who would prefer to watch football or perhaps just sit in quiet contemplation, but they listen anyway.

So it was a little weird this year to put the ornaments on our first tree here in Brooklyn. I've never had a live tree before, and it was a bit of an adventure carrying it along Court Street, up four flights then readjusting it numerous times using complex maneuvers that resembled a game of "Twister," only with pine needles.

(We are aware that it's lopsided -- the tree cutter fellow, who seemed perfectly competent, accidentally cut off too many lower branches, and there's a bald patch in the back reminiscent of Kelsey Grammer's head.)

So this year, our ornaments have no stories yet. I bought a bunch of vintage flocked Santas and reindeer off ebay. They look like they were well-loved in their last home, seeing as one is missing an eye.

And I couldn't resist picking up some cute wooden Martha Stewart ornaments at K-Mart. (Ok, I went to K-Mart three times because I really wanted them and they hadn't received a shipment yet.)

I guess that by next year they will each have a story -- they'll be the first ornaments we put on our first tree, which was a little lopsided but still lovable.


Anonymous Karen Olson said...

When I moved out of my parents' house, my mother presented me with "my" box of ornaments. I got a new one every year and she wrote them down so I have a list of which ones came which year. I started doing that for my daughter for her first Christmas, and it's a really special thing.

Merry Merry Christmas, Carrie, to you and Jon!!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...

Now you can start your own traditions! And see, some of your ornaments do already come with their own story.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous kaetlyn said...

it is so nice to hear about someone else who's family trees are decked with sentimental ornaments! when i moved in with my ex, his idea of the perfect tree was all silver and white balls...i should have run away right then!!! i am sure you guys will one day have a sentimental ornament collection of your own!

6:26 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Merry Christmas! Those ornaments are so adorable.

6:55 PM  
Blogger elizabooth said...

We also have our first live tree this year and I'm being very sentimental about it. Our family (mom, dad, brothers) never had really special ornaments with stories, so I'm making sure I'm starting those kind of traditions with my little family (daughter, husband). Have a merry christmas!!

7:04 PM  
Blogger gleek said...

awww, your tree is so cute!! i'll definitely want one next year when the peanut is here. it'll be fun :) i love the christmas ornaments you got. they look like a good start to a life long collection.

7:19 PM  
Blogger sappmama said...

I especally love the one-eyed reindeer.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I can see why you waited for those wooden ornaments...very cute. Happy Holidays!

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

How cute!! I love lopsided little Christmas trees! :)

My family and I always had two trees. One real one that my mom decorated with her fancy ornaments. It was the "decorator's" tree. The other was a mini, fake one that we put all the kitchy, homemade, and rag-tag ornaments collected throughout the years. It's fun to see all the little memories up on the tree.

7:48 PM  
Blogger schrodinger said...

Wonderful tradition you have going there. The first tree is really, really special.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Kuka said...

that's so cute
The Boy and I are about to have our first tree - I'm excited about having our own stories too.
- you've got me all teary now!!

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

those martha ornaments are so cute! so are the vintage ones.

last year, both my mom and my dad gave me the ornaments that were 'mine' from childhood - the ones i had made in girl scout camp or art class, the ones people had made for me as a baby, and all of the ornaments that my grandma gave me each year. i have quite a collection! it's wonderful to have them - there's something about christmas ornaments that brings out the big sap in me. :)

8:14 PM  
Blogger Veronique said...

Are you going to start to sing "Rudolph the one eyed reindeer"?

8:49 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Very sweet. I usually put up LOTS of decorations, including multiple trees. This year, because we are going to be in PA for the holiday, we put up a wrought iron tree with all fiber-related ornaments. I've been burning candles and scented oil lamps to get that tree smell going, but it isn't the same. Your tree looks wonderful and that one-eyed reindeer already has a story!

8:51 PM  
Blogger Ragged Around the Edges said...

There is nothing more memorable or precious than your first tree. I am glad you took pictures of it. For you will tell many a tale about that tree.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Yay for first trees! I still remember ours. Ours was a little lopsided too, and had a real tall spike(branch) at the top.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so cute. My family is like yours - all of our ornaments are different and they are all from different times and different people. It's more fun that way. :)

9:57 PM  
Anonymous amanda said...

awww... i love your tree. all the ornaments are so cute. i never thought about getting them off ebay - i guess i will have to remember that for next year. happy holidays!

10:24 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Such a lovely tree! Unfortunately I can't use breakable sentimental ornaments because of my cats, but we do have our share of wooden and plastic ones from each of our childhoods.

11:35 PM  
Blogger mayarn said...

I love those little reindeers - so cute!

9:27 AM  
Blogger MeBeth said...

My parents' tree is the same way, and we have McDonald'd happy meal ornaments too!

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Sandra said...

love the tree! and those ornaments are the cutest. well, worth the many trips to kmart.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Esther said...

The tree is beautiful - even more beautiful is the history of the ornaments - that's what makes it all special...

1:01 PM  
Blogger KeanaLee said...

your tree is beautiful, and all my ornaments mean something too, I have collected them traveling over the years & I love them all, thanks for sharing

2:16 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

So super cute!! I love the one eyed deer!!!

8:39 PM  
Blogger Sarah / Blue Garter said...

You're going to feel so much better about your lopsided tree when I post pictures of mine in a few days. Mine has three noodly appendages instead of a top. It's got character, dammit! :) And fortunately I inherited my grandmother's simple, folksy wooden bird and fruit ornaments to balance the box of porcelaine cherubs and other gooey schmaltziness my mother-in-law bequeathed to us...

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, so cute. Makes me miss putting up our beloved ornaments at home with my mom. But we have to start new traditions, don't we? I can't wait to see your tree IRL!

1:43 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

Merry Christmas and hooray for new traditions! The first year I was married, I made tons of oragami cranes and some dough snowmen and other assorted shapes because we had nothing else. After 5 years, they cranes are gone and the last of the dough ornaments has finally gotten soggy and started to fall apart. Thankfully, we've now accumulated many more ornaments. Soon you'll have many stories for "your" tree.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I love that you have your own ornaments each with its own story. DH keeps reminding me that the apartment is too small for a live Christmas tree the likes of which I DREAM about... oh well, happy holidays!

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your first tree! Yay! My mom still has all the ornaments that we made when I was little (styrofoam balls + pins + big glass beads) and ones with pictures of my first few christmases wearing lots of polyester :)

Enjoy all your new xmas memories!

1:10 AM  
Blogger Lolly said...

A very cute tree grows in Brooklyn ;)

8:33 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

i love the poor guy missing an eye! i'm glad to see the ornaments found a good home!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Carrie, Sorry to put this in comments, but I could not find your email address. I am going to be in NY for a conference January 18-23. Are there any knitting gatherings you know of that I could visit? Perhaps Friday or Sunday evening? My daytime hours vary a lot, but last year I managed to sqeeze in 5 yarn-related field trips during the conference! Thanks.

12:55 PM  

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