2017-12-07 / Views

Too many ornaments? Go get a second tree

A column by Patti Brandt Burgess

I cannot resist buying Christmas ornaments.

I have boxes and boxes of them. So many, in fact, that a good share of them these days don’t make it to the tree and sadly stay packed away through the holiday season.

Those ornaments tell the story of my life, though the details are all in my memories.

My first ornament was a tiny glass house that I bought while on a kindergarten class trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. Most of the sparkles have fallen off, but it’s still beautiful.

I was five and I really don’t remember the trip. I just remember looking at thousands of glittery tree baubles and picking that one. It’s pretty much a miracle that it never got broken.

My first Christmas on my own I didn’t have much money and my grandma gave me an old artificial tree that didn’t even think about looking real, and my mom gave me a couple of boxes of glass ornaments that she no longer used.

I spread those little glass globes around until they covered the entire five-foot-tall tree. When I woke up in the morning my oldest son Jamey, who was about two at the time, had climbed out of his crib and was in the process of smashing every single ornament he could reach.

It’s a good thing he had footie pajamas on.

So there I was again with an undecorated tree. But mom came to the rescue again. She went out and got some rustic wooden ornaments that she painted for me. Over the years I’ve collected several beautiful ornaments, but none so beautiful as those unsophisticated ones made by mom.

It must be the love she put in them that makes them so pretty.

Last Christmas was the first year they didn’t hang on the tree. It looked oddly bare, despite the plethora of decorations.

This year they’re coming out of their tissue wrappings and going back on the tree.

When I got married the first time my Uncle Jim gave us Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus riding a tandem bicycle. When I had my second son Charley his dad bought a chubby-faced cowboy he said reminded him of Charley.

He died when Charley was 18-months-old and while the ornament was one of my favorites, I reluctantly let Charley take it with him when he grew up and moved out.

He insisted the ornament belonged to him and I couldn’t really argue.

Of course, all of the ornaments made by my three kids in their school years were always hung on the tree.

When Ernie and I merged our households a few years ago he didn’t have a single ornament. He had them stored in a shed and when he took the boxes out to decorate discovered that they had all — including the ones made by his kids — been chewed to bits by mice.

Before I got my cat I was a dog person and my Christmas tree reflected that with lots of cute little doggies. When my brother Mike died I inherited all of his cat ornaments. I think it must have been a sign of things to come. Perhaps we should have named our cat Tigga after him.

When I moved up here about five years ago I went to all the craft shows and picked up a blue Michiganshaped ornament, a Santa face painted on a milkweed pod, and, of course, two sleeping bears.

I also discovered the Country Christmas store on M-72 with its adorable pipe cleaner elves, Santa Clauses painted on weathered sticks and glass-blown angels.

So I continue to add to the already-bursting collection every year.

But enough is enough. It’s time to go cold turkey, time for Ornaments Anonymous.

On second thought, there is another solution to my too-many-ornaments dilemma.

Put up another tree. Or two.

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