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Start a Christmas Ornament Collection for Your Kids

Dec06

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When I moved out from my parents’ home into a home of my own, my mother let me choose some of the ornaments that had been on our tree while I was growing up. Most were the ones I had admired since I was six years old.

I enjoy decorating for Christmas with the ornaments that have the sense of family history and are so familiar to me every year. Even during the years when my apartment was so small I didn’t have a tree, I had a garland to hang up the ornaments, and the storage box didn’t take up very much space during the rest of the year.

It’s my favorite part of decorating for the holidays–that one small box of pretty, sentimental things.

A few years ago my husband and I decided to start an ornament collection for our children. Every year we buy a special ornament they can add to their collections that they will take with them when they grow up.

We make a big production of the ornament shopping trip. We bundle the kids up in their coats and go out to see the stores all lit up. (We usually don’t take the kids Christmas gift shopping with us, so they are amazed by it.) They get to choose their ornament, we also choose one for the family tree, and then we all go to the coffee shop to warm up.

It’s a way to relive memories each year.

It makes me remember the year that it snowed on Christmas Day, and where we have lived, and their favorite things. We take a picture of them each year with their ornament and see how they grow.

We hang wreaths in their bedrooms to display their ornaments (and maybe some toys as well like the frog keychain and LEGO man.) The kids love having holiday decorations for their very own.

It’s one of my family’s favorite traditions at Christmas.

Do you do something similar with your kids?

About the author


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Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it's so much easier to be a parent when you're not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)


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7 Responses to “Start a Christmas Ornament Collection for Your Kids”

  1. Zinna Dec 06 at 3:23 pm Reply Reply

    We always get a yearly ornament for the family and one for each of our sons (3 boys). We get a really nice personalized one for the birth and then we let each boy pick out their own each year. We decorate the tree with all of our ornaments. When they move out (I sniff just thinking about it), they’ll have a whole box full of their ornaments from birth on. Hopefully they’ll keep the tradition going for themselves and their own families someday.

  2. Whozat Dec 07 at 12:20 am Reply Reply

    My daughter just turned three, and for her first three Christmases we just have some photo ornaments, and a handprint one from last year, but this year I plan to do a photo frame, a handprint Santa (also her gift to grandparents / aunts / uncles) AND start an annual tradition of chosing one ornament that sort of represents the year – something that she’s really into, or something she’s accomplished, something special she’s done, etc.

    This year, it’s the Mouse King from The Nutcracker, because she is obsessed with it and he’s her favorite character.
    Another idea I’ve read, but haven’t done, is to buy two of each ornament, one for the family tree and one to pack away for the kid to take when they move out.

    I should start that, because I want her to have her ornaments, but I can’t bare the thought of looking at the tree without them after she’s taken them all!

  3. Whozat Dec 07 at 12:23 am Reply Reply

    Can’t BEAR the thought. The tree will be BARE.

  4. Pam Dec 07 at 8:17 am Reply Reply

    My kids are now 21 and 18 (where did the time go?) and each has their own box of ornaments. One thing I would suggest is to create some sort of storage system that helps you remember what was special about each year’s ornament. A small box for each ornament, for instance, with comments written inside the lid. “This pasta angel was made by Tory at Girl Scouts in 1997. She chose the blond hair so that Mommy could have a blond angel just like her daughter.” (Yes, my daughter is blond and thinks highly of herself, ha ha!) There are several ornaments in our boxes that we can’t really remember the significance of or from whom the special ornament came. You never think that’ll happen – but it does!

    I love the idea of hanging them on personal wreaths! Our tree became JAM PACKED with ornaments over the years. And no, I wasn’t sorry to see those ornaments walk out my door. We have plenty of our own, because we buy ornaments to remember our many trips.

  5. Shannon Dec 07 at 8:33 am Reply Reply

    We do almost the exact same thing!  Every year, before we start decorating the tree, each family member receives a new ornament that represents something about that person’s year.  This year, my son started playing guitar, so he has an electric guitar ornament. My husband and I made cheeseburgers in Ukraine at an orphanage with all the kids’ help, and I found a glittery, glass cheeseburger (or all things!) for my special ornament this year. 

    We need to be better at marking the year on each one. I always intend to give the kids their years’ ornaments when they move out, but I think it might break my heart a little bit, too!

  6. Suzanne Dec 21 at 9:13 pm Reply Reply

    Aside from the ornaments made at school and church, our tree is mostly a Hallmark ornament tree. Since birth for each of our kids, they get two ornaments each year…an ornament from a Hallmark series (when a series ends they begin a new one) and one of their choice. The boxes are marked with their name and they will take these with them someday when they grow up and move out. So our tree won’t be bare when they have all moved, my husband and I both chose one. We love going each year to pick out our ornaments!

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