Not All Ornaments are the Same

The struggles with our “main” Christmas tree this year have been documented, but it’s the story of our little tree that needs to be told.

JWo_White-Trash-TreeOur main tree may have net lights and random ornaments all over it, and the story of us decorating it is pretty funny.

Our second tree is only about 3-foot tall and pre-lit (thankfully), but it’s the ornaments that make it so special.

Some of the ornaments are over 40 years old, but each one was handmade and personalized by my grandmother, Granny Nance.

Mini-treeOne of the perks about being closer to my family is that I have been able to see my grandparents more often. Seeing Granny on Christmas day reminded me of all the little ornaments she had made.

Granny is showing the signs of aging that we are all going to go through, but there are times when glimpses of the grandmother I remember come through.

The Egg Bowl trophy that goes to the winner of the Mississippi State–Ole Miss football game each year.

During our Thanksgiving visit we talked about the upcoming Egg Bowl between Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Granny got a Masters from Ole Miss and my Dad graduated from Mississippi State so they were always talking about which school had the better football team. She was recalling one of the times when she was giving Dad grief about State’s team and how he didn’t have much to say because they were so bad.

She laughed as she told the story and it reminded me of times when she’d ask me who was going to win the games and how I knew she’d give me a hard time when Ole Miss won or if State was struggling.

Since I was just a kid, I didn’t think much about those conversations at the time. What’s worse is that I know I didn’t put much thought or appreciation toward the ornaments she made for all of the grandkids.

Fortunately for me, somewhere along the line I wised-up enough to remember to save the ornaments Granny made for me.

During my first Christmas in Illinois, Tammy surprised me with a little tree in my apartment that was decorated entirely with Granny’s ornaments. I remember how special it was for me when Tammy did that for me, but it was meant even more that she only used Granny’s ornaments.

There have been some years where we didn’t put up a tree, but the years we did we almost always had a little tree decorated with those hand-made ornaments.

This year was the first time we put up a big tree in several years, but we kept with the tradition of having my Granny tree. Our friends, Daniel and Dana, were running the St. Jude half marathon when we decorated it and their two girls, Emma and Erin.

They would ask Tammy what some of the ornaments were — some, like Santa, are easier to figure out than others, like the turkey — and would look at the year on each one as they put them on the tree.

Santa and Winnie the Pooh were the first two ornaments Granny Nance made for me.

Santa and Winnie the Pooh were the first two ornaments Granny Nance made for me.


Each ornament she sewed for her grandchildren had our initials and the year she made them on the back.

Tammy and I were talking about taking down the trees this weekend when I decided to see how many of Granny’s ornaments we had and what years they were made.

I currently have 18 in my collection, but unfortunately there are some holes that I will never be able to fill.

Ornaments_FrontOrnaments_BackGranny has long since stopped making ornaments – the last one I have is from 2002 – as her grandchildren turned into parents who gave her great-grandchildren.

I’m sad that I don’t have all of the ornaments and wish I had appreciated them more as I was growing up.

All I can do now is enjoy the ones I have and cherish them knowing that Granny spent her time making each one for me.

I know her time in this world may be running out, but all I’ll ever need to do is look at those ornaments to remind me of how much time she spend on me.

Savannah and Granny hanging by the fireplace at Mom’s.

Savannah and Granny hanging by the fireplace at Mom’s.

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6 Responses to Not All Ornaments are the Same

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful story. My mom gave me a nursing ornament every since I finished college. They are my treasures since she’s now in a memory care facility.

  2. JodiMelsness says:

    Lol, it labeled me anonymous!

  3. shoes says:

    I love that you have a Granny tree. It is a bummer that you don’t have all the ornaments but it is great that you cherish the ones you do have. And I love the expression on that Santa ornament!

    • JWo says:

      I feel like I prolly did have them all at one point, but some of them have gotten lost between moves.

      I wasn’t thoughtful enough when I was younger to think about making sure I saved all of them, but now that I’m older I wish that I had done a better job.

      This was the first year I stopped to see how many I actually had and which ones were missing. It really made me think about how much time and effort she spend on the grandkids.

      • shoes says:

        Well, I for one think it is nice that you stopped to count and think about all that hard work (and don’t forget all the love) your Grammy put into those ornaments.

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