Xmas ornament collections for children?

Jane_the_RenovatorJuly 16, 2014

I am considering starting an Xmas ornament collection for my little boy, the kind where every year, he gets a new ornament.

For those of you who have done this, or have your own from-childhood collections:

Did you/your child like the collection as a child?

Do you/they like it now?

Do you/they use it?

I think it's a really neat idea, but I don't want to saddle him with something that will be clutter in the future. I look forward to hearing your responses.

Why am I asking this question in JULY??? Because I hit garage sales all year and Xmas stuff is always there.

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I have one for both of my kids, started when they were just babies. I bought one special ornament for each of them every year, marking it discretely someplace with the year if it didn't already have the year on it. What I bought was an ornament that was a remembrance of a special vacation we took together or a special event in their lives. Once they were old enough, which came around age four, I let them choose their own special one. When they were young, they had 3-foot trees that sat on their dressers during the Christmas Season. Later, when they could be trusted not to knock over ~ or try to climb a larger tree (LOL)~ I bought them each one of those 7-foot, narrow artificial trees (I'm allergic to real Christmas trees) for their rooms. They call them their Memory Trees and love remembering each special times as they put them up every year. DS is almost thirty now, and has traveled all over the world with the Army. He's now living in a one-bedroom apartment in Tucson with his girlfriend and two lively dogs. His tree and ornaments are still very special to him, but he's asked me to hang them until he gets settled into a bigger place.

This post was edited by lynninnewmexico on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 18:48

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:40AM
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I buy ornaments for our family tree in multiples of three. Each child will someday receive one third of all those tiny sweaters, sleighs and articulated nutcrackers. Of the two adults out on their own, neither is ready for that kind of Christmas commitment, lol, so for now I still have all of them.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:06AM
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My mother gave me a dated silver plated jingle bell like I've pictured below every year for a number of years. I don't put up a tree, but they look great on a garland, a wreath or even piled in a bowl on the coffee table. I wouldn't have liked the plastic Hallmark creations, but I've enjoyed the bells.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:22AM
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~I did with my kids. I didn't buy expensive ones though and they revolved around interests and hobbies. Musical notes, instruments, skiis, soccer boots, remembrances of things we did. I also kept all the ones that `they made through elementary school. They both have quite a collection now and when they move out they will get them and it will be up to them as to what they do with them. I still put them on our tree.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:30AM
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My Mom gave my brother and I some generic ornaments for a few years when we were young. Her taste is very different from mine. I currently use them but I really don't feel a special attachment to them.

Like Lynne, I am fond of the ones we have purchased while on trips and I love the ones that my kids made when they were young.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:36AM
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My grown DS and DD were given each year (by me )
ornaments throughout their childhood. Along with favorite stuffed animals,etc. that I have kept, they are mildly appreciative, but I'm the only one who really cares. Knowing this, they wanted them left here for our family tree. I 'd always planned to hand them over when they settled down, but when that time came I was secretly happy not to give them up. They are too busy raising my grandchildren :) :) to wax sentimental over their own childhood . Bet they will appreciate them lots more when they are my age. I enjoyed selecting their personal ornaments, and continue the tradition, though not yearly, with the grands. Go for it!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:54AM
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I like Lynn's idea of letting them pick out an ornament when they are old enough and having little trees in their rooms. I would occasionally buy ornaments for them reflecting their interests, sports, etc. In 2000 I bought each of them millenium ornaments from Waterford. And we bought ornaments when traveling. I don't think they will really appreciate any of it until they have their own kids and start their own Christmas traditions....I think then things from THEIR childhood will have more meaning.

Every year I am tempted to go totally retro and get one of those aluminum trees from the 60's with the colored revolving lights.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

My mother gave her grandson a wooden ornament every year on which she had added the year. I found the collection after she died and gave it to him.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:59PM
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I have never started a collection for any of my 5 adult children, but I have a great assortment of very unusual ornaments. Maybe someday i'll devide them up, or better yet, let them choose the ones they want because certain ones may hold a memory for one child, but not necessarily the other four. Hopefully they'll end up on their tree and not Goodwill.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:02AM
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My parents did this for us kids. There is a variety and the cost varied.

Did you/your child like the collection as a child?

Do you/they like it now?

Do you/they use it?

A lot do have my name on them which does present a challenge. My grandparents also bought us ornaments yearly. I even have a few from aunts and uncles. They're all stored in one of those clear, small/medium-ish rectangle storage containers. It doesn't take up much room. I can get them all on a 3' tree, but the past few years I've been putting my favorites on a 1 footer with a few of DH's. It's sentimental to me. I also decorate the tree like we did growing up with colored lights and red garland. (the addition of garland only on the larger tree.)

Actually I even have an ornament from my kindergarten teacher. Her husband was into woodworking and it's a chunky, but small wooden painted heart with my name handwritten on the front. The handle is jute. Cuter than what it sounds actually. Hmm.. heck, maybe it was for Valentines Day.

This post was edited by sheesharee on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 1:50

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:44AM
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I gave my daughter an ornament every year that had something to do with the events of the past year. (I still do.) She has ornaments commemorating first airplane ride, different vacations, graduations, wedding, ballet class, etc.

I also record the event they are commemorating.

On her first Christmas on her own she had a collection of her own ornaments for her tree.

She loves them.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:00AM
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My son-in-law's grandfather gave each of the grandchildren an ornament every year for Christmas. We spend Christmas with my daughter and SIL every year and they decorate the tree before we arrive, but we are there when they take down the tree and it is really heartwarming to watch the care that my 36 year old SIL takes in packing each ornament away in its special box for the next year. He probably doesn't even realize he is doing it, but he always says something about his grandfather (still living) as he packs the ornaments.

DD also has many of our Christmas ornaments and decorations, but not given as part of a collection. One of their special Christmas decorations is a primitive painted wooden nativity scene that my mother gave me when DD was a baby and I passed on to DD. As a child, DD loved setting it out and always arranged all the wise men, shepherds, angels and animals tightly in a crowd facing the manger. When I asked her why the figures were so crowded she responded, 'but, mom, they all want to be close to the Baby.' I couldn't argue with that and even as an adult she still arranges them that way. A more recent phenomenon is a green dinosaur ornament who worked his way into the scene. None of us remember exactly when Dino made his first appearance (he probably fell off the tree and someone just put him there), but he has become a fixture at the manger the last few years.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:31AM
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We celebrated St. Nicholas Day every Dec. 6. He always brought exotic fruit, nuts in the shell, a book and an ornament. My kids used to LOVE hanging their ornaments on the garland I would drape on their curtains. That lasted until they hit Jr. high. Now the ornaments remain in the box in my store room. Mine also received ornaments from Godparents and friends at school so they have quite a collection. Each of my children have their own ornament box. The oldest is 23 and is totally not interested in them. I think the memory connection could be the key. When kids multiply and life gets busier finding just the right ornament becomes a chore I ran out of time for. Also a memory YOU want to preserve often won't be the memory a child carries forward. One day I hope they will return to their roots and remember the fun of decorating day...I also made sure all my kids had a nativity set in their room. That too is waiting in the box. We have lost a few ornaments over the years. I would suggest not getting glass and if they could be home made, all the better. Hallmark had a great idea--but their ornaments SCREAM consumerism--not a message I wanted to spread at Christmas.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:42AM
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I did this for each child, and bought a nice, sturdy pressed board box to house each child's collection. They are not quite ready for me to hand them over to them, but they get a lot of pleasure out of the collection. It's been fun to watch the collection grow, and when we decorate the tree we alway begin by having them put those ornaments on first. Since they are now 18 and 22, that's 40 ornaments now! Like others mentioned, I always marked the year on the bottom using a fine sharpie. One thing I did which I think worked out really well was to tie the ornament into meaningful events in their lives. So the year my son started kindergarten he got a schoolbus ornament, the year he first played cello, he got a cello ornament, the year we rented a lake cottage in NH, he got a canoe, etc. I did the same with my daughter. I worked hard to curate a really nice collection for each of them, not expensive necessarily, just unique, artistic, meaningful, etc. So the school bus is a very neat handcrafted looking piece, the canoe is a darling green, wooden canoe about 5 inches long, complete with oars, etc.

I don't think you'll regret it!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:47AM
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I'll be the Devil's Advocate or Ebenezer Scrooge-

This is only a good idea IF you won't take it personally if he doesn't want them when he grows up. No hurt feelings, no guilt trips about emotional or financial value invested, no complaints. Maybe he won't be interested OR maybe his wife won't be interested in a box of things that you collected or doesn't fit her decor scheme or conflicts with her/their beliefs. Will that be a problem for you? If so, you might want to reconsider. Just buy ornaments for your life and your tree and if he expresses an interest in one or 100 of them, then pass them along to him and enjoy that he is sentimental.

If you can happily collect them over 20+ years and not look at them bitterly for another 20+ years after they've been rejected, then go for it.

Obviously, I'm not sentimental about Xmas stuff. I want to hand pick what I do choose to display and not be handed a box of someone else's memories. While I am clearly the outlier here, there are other people like me so it's possible he won't want them in the future.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:32AM
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I agree with hhireno.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:11AM
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I also agree with hhireno. My mother does a Christmas ornament for me and my siblings every year. I am 29 and I wish she would stop. It would take five Christmas trees to put them all up and are a huge waste of space to store. Especially as I do not celebrate christmas anymore.Every year I get the guilt trip about them, its something that means more to her than anyone else. My brother and sister could care less about their ornaments, even though its obvious she puts a lot of effort into them. Don't think we are ungrateful, its just a tradition that gets jaded and tired after nearly three decades. And she gets mad that no one appreciates them enough, but it is hard to appreciate when you are forced to do it. It's sad and it already makes me feel bad thinking about storing these for eternity out of guilt and shame until one day i or one of my children who they were passed down to have to throw them out. I would really suggest not to do it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Speaking as wife of someone whose mother did this for all five of her children, I welcomed the ornaments when the box was given to us. As a newly married couple, we had very few ornaments so it really helped. MIL had marked them with his name and year...hard to believe the tiny labels have not fallen off after all these years. When we first pulled them all out, it was great fun looking at the variety...some from his family travels around the world, some childhood characters (snoopy,etc), or a sports idol. I liked the idea so much, I do the same for our four children. Each year I get them an ornament and they also pick out one of their choosing. They even enjoy looking at the ones from dh's childhood. In fact, one of their favorite holiday activities is decorating the tree with their own ornaments (they are 9, 11, 13 and 15). While I appreciate a beautifully decorated tree with all matching ornaments, red bows, white lights, etc, our family tree is so meaningful and sentimental. In fact when people stop by during the holidays, they seem to really enjoy checking out the variety of ornaments and asking about their origin. I will give each of my kids their box of ornaments when they move out on their own but will not feel badly if they choose not to use them or their spouse has no interest. If not, I will keep them for our own tree and they can get rid of them when I'm gone if they wish.

My parents never did this for my siblings and me but I wish they had.

I think it's a wonderful tradition but agree that I'd only do it if you don't mind if your children/spouse may not be interested in the future. But at that point, I'm sure they'd make some other family happy if you donated them!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:50AM
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My husbands mother made an ornament with him ever year. he has fond memories of the time they spent on them. so he does cherish them.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Thank you all for your responses. LOL about the dinosaur! I really like the suggestion about making an ornament together. He would enjoy that.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:43AM
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I bought ornaments for my children each Christmas and also marked the year on them. They were ones that represented something important in their life at the time, when possible, but other times just a neat ornament. They all were delighted to have them when they married and had their own trees. I often hear them explaining the significance to their children and they also are continuing the tradition with their own children.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:57AM
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Fun2bhere, I love your jingle bells, what a wonderful collection!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:49AM
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I am also making a mental note to start a handmade ornaments by children thread when we get closer to December. I want to see them! Mojomom, I think we all need to see that nativity scene too!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:32AM
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