Memories of Christmas past

Memories come flooding back every year when we put up our Christmas tree. We do not have a themed tree. But our eclectic tree keeps gathering memories that are stored in the ornaments that adorn it. There is a Hallmark ornament that announces 1977 “Our First Christmas together” and there is another from 2019 that simply says, “First Christmas as Gramma and Grampa”. They are only 42 years apart, but both bring good memories.

We have an ornament from our travels to Nova Scotia where as a family we picked up a glass bulb with the painted lighthouse of Peggy’s Cove. We have painted sand dollars from our trips with our sons to Fort Meyers Beach. Bleached they stand out. We would be out on the beach before the sun came up and the tide was receding, and we would scavenge for the sand dollars. The stillness of the mornings in March as we waded in the shallows was priceless.

My grandmother on my mother’s side did tatting and crocheting and our tree is adorned with several snowflakes that she tatted for us. They come out of storage and only see daylight for a few weeks a year. They remain brilliantly white.

There is a blue stained glass “Girl Guide” angel that my wife received when she was the Guide commissioner in Ontario. I have a pewter ornament that was given to me from the McKenzie Heritage Printery located in Queenston when I was president of the Ontario Community Newspaper Association.

The most precious ornaments include dough figurines that my sons picked out and the driftwood ornaments with their names on the back and the year they were added to the tree. The boys had different interests and that shows in the figurines they chose. While Adam may have picked a Wizard for an ornament, Brendan chose a snowman. Adam picked a Santa head and Brendan chose a skier.

There are hand painted wooden balls with scenes from our home and my wife’s family home in Markdale that were painted by a very talented Leanne Donaldson.

Back in the early 90’s my eldest son chose a glass globe that revolved on a tree. We were shopping during a break from a swim meet in Kenora at a store in the basement of the Kenricia Hotel in Kenora. It has adorned our tree for almost 30 years, and I can remember back to that Saturday as the turning globe caught his eye.

One of the oldest items on the tree is the angel that tops it. My wife created it the first year we were married, using some spare fabric and we promised each other that it would be only temporary for that year and a much more majestic angel would be used in future years. The handmade angel, in checkered fabric, and felt wings. She may be showing her age, but the memories that she has looked down on for almost 50 years, remain priceless. The tree would not be complete without her atop it.

Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times