Tag Archives: Christmas

Project 365, #364: Christmas Ornaments: Snoopy.

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The airplane, one of several on the tree, was a frequent symbol given to Dad and my sister since they became student pilots together. And Snoopy, favorite of the Peanuts characters, has made an appearance in gifts to most of us at one time or another. In fact, this year, one of my presents for my sister was a package of Snoopy band-aids (she loves — and frequently needs — cartoon band-aids).

This ornament was given to my Dad back in North Idaho after he got his private pilot license, possible after he’d bought a small Cessna plane. Even before the license and plane, though, his favorite hobby for years has been flying through the air: first with a hang-glider, then in an ultralight airplane he bought with his youngest brother.

We had a grass runway in the field in front of our house, and his ultralight buddies and my sister’s old boss (who had a small helicopter he frequently flew to the next town and back) would often drop in while flying about, just to say hello. It was a fun — and pretty unique! — part of life back then.

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Project 365, #363: Christmas Ornaments: Elephant.

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Elephants are another of the very special animals Mum has always had a connection to for as long as I can remember. There are several different ones on the tree, and many more in other possessions Mum has — for instance in one of my presents this year: a soapstone diffuser with elephants carved all around the sides. I’ve given Mum lots of elephants over the years, ranging from plastic to petrified wood to ceramic. It’s her dream to seem them in the wild, though, and that’s one gift I haven’t been able to give her. Yet.

You never know, someday it might happen!

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Project 365, #362 : Christmas Ornaments: Owl.

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A follow-up to my previous Christmas Ornaments post:

Mum told me that this feathery owl is the very first ornament she bought for herself — at age fourteen — which also started her bird collection. Owls are very much a special animal for her, and clearly always have been!

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Project 365, #360: Christmas Morning Triptych.

Christmas Morning has a rhythm in my family that never changes: breakfast first, then presents. And then chores, because there are always chores on a farm.

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Our special Christmas breakfast this year sadly lacked in the usual bacon due to poor planning on our part, but at least we had left over bacon grease we’d saved for scrambled eggs! We also had a fresh fruit salad, and two kinds of homemade breakfast breads, along with the usual tea for me and Mum, and coffee for Dad.

 

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Post-present-opening, I noticed a slight “British Invasion” theme had unintentionally happened… Unsurprisingly, I’m quite okay with that!

 

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As always, there were new ornaments among the gifts — including this carved flying pig from Indonesia. It seems appropriate, in a double meaning kind of way, because Dad calls his part of the farm “Hog Heaven”.

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Project 365, Triptych: Christmas Ornaments: Family.

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#356: Dad and Penguins.

I mentioned how animals were important in my family a couple days ago, how we each of us connect to different animals at various times for a multitude of reasons. What I didn’t say was that Dad has, for as long as I can remember, been pretty ambivalent towards family traditions like this. He didn’t really see the reason we (mostly my sister and I) got so attached to doing certain things and why they were important to us, but he’d go along with it anyway (for the most part) when we insisted.

This has manifested in interesting ways, and the penguins are one of the more interesting. Since each member of the family would get animal-themed presents (in addition to the wooden ornaments I already mentioned, we’d also get things like calendars and figurines and whatever else.) this meant that whether he wanted one or not, Dad needed to have an animal so we could get him presents.

I’m not really sure how penguins ended up assigned to him, actually, because it happened when I was still quite young. When I learned to use Mum’s sewing machine as a child, it was to hem Christmas-penguin fabric into bandanas for Dad. We’d get him penguin toys for his desk, and penguin ornaments for him to hang on the tree. However it came about,  the penguins stuck, and have been ‘his’ animal for years now.  They and my Dad have become forever intertwined.

 

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#357: Mum and Birds.

Mum, on the other hand, has always encouraged our traditions — however much some of the more odd ones have bemused her. She has had many animals that are ‘hers’, and one of the most prominent on the Christmas tree have always been the birds. These are the birds made with real feathers, and wires on the feet to wrap around the branches so they look real. I have no idea how many she has now, but there was a time when she’d receive one or two new ones each year. All are unique, and I’m sure she could recount the story behind each one.

I’ve always thought the birds were one of the prettiest things on the tree, and I think it’s lovely having them perched here and there throughout the whole thing. They bring a little of the woodland into the living room — appropriate in so many ways — and are each beautiful works of art and craft.

 

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#358: Heritage.

Some of the ornaments we hang tell the story of our heritage. Mum loves discovering and learning about the genealogy of her family — a passion she’s slowly rubbing off on me — and we honor it in a number of ways. This viking ship is one of them, since our Danish ancestors were, in fact, vikings! It’s little things like this that help keep those roots real in our hearts and minds, when so much else is lost through the generations of separation between us and those distant relations. And what better time to reflect on our past than on the holidays: a time of family and celebration!

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Project 365, #355: Christmas Ornaments: Pom-Pom Birds.

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These little pom-pom birds perch on branches of every Christmas tree I’ve ever decorated. They are easy to make, even as a little kid, and I remember several years of doing just that. I have several “generations” of these decorations, with various changes to design and style depending on what was available and how old I was. They were all given lives and relationships as I created them, and some of those I even remember when I see them again now.

I have birds with open beaks, closed beaks, feather tails or felt tails, some with googly eyes, and one even has a white bib (she’s the baby of the “family” I created that year). The ones with wooden clothes pins usually have the year I made them written on the bottom (thanks to my Mum being quite organized about keeping track of these things), and there are a few with plastic clothes pins that I made in my girl scout troop one year (when Mum was the leader).

There are many things it just wouldn’t feel like a proper Christmas tree without, and these little birds — as simple and silly as they are — are one of them.

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Project 365, #354: Christmas Ornaments: Moose.

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Pretty much every ornament in my family has a story or a tradition — or both — behind it. With life getting busy around the holidays, and work taking up much of my time, I decided that an easy but interesting theme I can maintain off and on these last few weeks of the Project is to share some of those stories and traditions. Starting with the wooden moose.

Every member of my immediate family has wooden animal ornaments like this moose, and each animal we have is unique and meaningful to the individual at the time it was given. It may represent a stage of our lives, or our favorite animal at the time, or a native creature of the place we lived at. Whatever the meaning, it gives the simple wooden carving a special meaning, and a special place in both our hearts and our Christmas trees.

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