Heirloom Ornaments of Christmas Past

  • Mike McCurry
  • 12/21/17
From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, December 21, 2017
This is the season to make new memories and to bring out those from Christmas’s of the past. And by now, most of the decorations have been brought down out of our attics, basements and crawl-spaces, and properly hung into their place. The frustrating old lights that had so much promise, didn’t cut it anymore, and have been thrown out. But not to fear, Costco, Home Depot and Walmart always have more, and the new ones have taken their place, and are now glowing on most houses throughout town. But it’s the old heirloom ornaments and decorations that help transport us back to those special feelings about Christmas, and the reason why we drag it all out again, year after year.
I’m not going to pretend about being the one in my home that gets the benefits of putting it all in its place. My wife Amy seems to have an innate drive, like a salmon swimming upstream to complete the journey, and to make our home a special and magical place in the way she has envisioned for our Christmas memories. One of the sweetest ornament that I’ve seen her pull out is a picture together with her dad, dressed in their Indian Princesses vests when she was in grade school – a priceless memory worth bringing out.
Many of the decorations in our home have a history, but it’s the ornament heirlooms of Christmas past that are the backdrop of our Christmas tree, like the mercury glass bead garland, passed down from Amy’s “Grammy”. We also hide a forgiveness nail and a pickle deep inside the base of the tree so everyone can try to find. Our tree has become a living time capsule of ornaments that have been been collected over our 18 years of marriage and while raising our four children.
Added to our tree are several “first year of marriage” and “new baby” ornaments. And as our children make their way through preschool to fifth grade, they brought home their own artistic creations that we love to show off.. Maybe you have the similar story about your tree?
My mother, who lives in Riverside Illinois, recently tagged her own three children in a facebook post with a picture of her tree, and a handful of each childhood creations showcased and crowding for a top-shelf space. We didn’t make as many ornaments as children do today, but It’s nice to see that my mom still appreciates them, and puts them on her tree. She has a knack for photography, and travel has gifted us every year with beautiful ornament frames, marked with the year and filled with a picture of each of our children. She has also gifted us many special ornaments from her travels from around the globe.
It’s nice to visit other homes in town whose families have a similar decorating disposition. We traveled recently on a progressive dinner through eight of our friends’ homes in Clarendon Hills. The food was scrumptious, and the company was wonderful; but I couldn’t help keep my eyes from wandering around to see how lovely the homes were decorated. Each had their own flare and uniqueness. One was contemporary-clean, and had a children’s train whistling around under the living room table; while another had decorated almost every inch of the home, and showcased 26 nativity sets. They were all so different and beautiful, but my favorite lawn decoration of the night was of a blown-up Santa in a Bass Pro Shop fishing boat.
So, we continue to make new Christmas memories, and add new ornaments too. Our tradition at the Christmas Walk has been where each of our children pick out a keepsake ornament from Joelle’s Hallmark Store. I’m sure that one day, they will drag these and others that we pass down, out of their own attics, basements and crawl space, while reflecting on memories of Christmas past.
Merry Christmas from Mike, Amy Micah, Abigail, Noah and Elizabeth.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.

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