Most families who celebrate Christmas have a veritable smorgasbord of ornaments. Mine is no exception. Heirloom ornaments handed down for generations. Ornaments given to me when I was a child. Ornaments that are wacky and fun. Ornaments bought to match a particular decor. Almost all of them have a story. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite this Christmas season.
And, I'd like to invite you to do the same! Share a story (and a link, if you'd like) about one of your favorite holiday ornaments... whatever holiday you celebrate and cherish.
These two ornaments are years apart in time, distance, and style, but they do share a certain kitsch factor.
The little tree made of wrapped boxes stands about a foot high. It's from the 1950s and belonged to my Great Aunt Fern. It reminds me of photos of her from that era, when she favored cat's eye glasses with rhinestones, and dresses with nipped waists and swingy skirts.
The other ornament is so deliberately bizarre it makes me laugh. An alligator (or crocodile?) in red high heels is charming enough, but the Christmas trees on his back put him quite over the top.
A couple of years ago, when I was in Vienna for a semester, I bought several of these weird little designs at one of the Christmas markets. The irony is that these ornaments are made in America, so I traveled all the way to Vienna only to bring them back to the U.S. (I wish I could remember the name of the company that makes them. If anyone recognizes them, let me know!)
I spent a few months alone in Vienna. At Christmas, Frink was going to join me. It's a rather lonely feeling wandering by yourself around a city festively decorated for Christmas, especially Vienna, which must have the most beautiful Christmas in the world. The markets are thronged with people standing under sparkling lights in the streets or at outdoor stalls, laughing, eating delicious cookies, hot potatoes, sausages, and mulled wines.
After Frink joined me for Christmas, we planned to stay in Vienna only a few days, before doing some traveling, so I didn't want to get a tree. But my little apartment seemed so bare and sad. So, I bought some pine boughs at a flower shop, stuck them in a large vase on a table, draped it with a "skirt" and hung 10 or 12 ornaments from it. I got most of the ornaments at Christmas Markets to give as gifts when I returned home, but I didn't think my friends and family would mind if I hung them for a few days on my makeshift tree.
This well-heeled alligator had a prominent spot, and I grew so attached to him that I had to keep him.
Tomorrow: More on Vienna's Christmas markets, and some ornaments acquired there.