Here's my philosophy on Christmas ornaments: enough is never enough! I really like a packed tree, where you can hardly see any green because there's an ornament on every branch.
My mother always had a great Christmas tree when I was growing up, and I could sit on the couch at night, in a darkened living room, and look at that lit-up tree forever. (It was my father's tree, too, of course; but he had nothing to do with it once he'd brought it home and set it up in the tree stand.) Mom had every kind of ornament on there, from simple home-made ones to very valuable and fragile antique blown-glass German ornaments that she'd inherited from her own mother. My mom also had these old garlands made of real silver--which she'd also inherited from my grandmother--that were so different than the modern ones that I often thought looked rather cheesy. As much as I could appreciate the beauty of all kinds of Christmas trees when I was a kid--you know, even "theme" trees, or those decorated all in one color-- I never thought anyone else's tree could stack up to ours.
For many years, my husband and I would take our boys to the tree farm, and we'd choose our tree and cut it down ourselves. Then, about 5 or 6 years ago, we bought a 9-and-1/2-foot artificial tree at an after-Christmas sale, and we've been putting that up ever since. I never thought I'd be okay with a fake tree, but I am. The key to a great Christmas tree isn't so much the tree anyway; it's the ornaments! And I have A LOT of ornaments!
I love to take out the ornament boxes each new Christmas season, because after I wrap them up and put them away, I don't think about them all year. And it's so much fun to pull them out again, one by one, and say, "Oh, I forgot about you! Aren't you cute?!" I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning opening up my presents.
Many of our ornaments are ones we've purchased, but at least as many have been gifts. And I always say, "I don't need any more ornaments--that's it!"...but every year, I make at least one new one. This year, I made an ornament using an adorable photo of my twin granddaughters. I glued it onto a metal juice can lid (for more on this, see my May 7 post, "Trash to Treasure"), added a bell, a bow, and a hanger--and voila! I think it's one of my all-time favorites. With those two cuties on it, though, how could it not be?
We have ornaments made of glass, porcelain, resin, ceramic, cloth, felt, wood, metal, plastic, paper, cardboard, pipe cleaners, clothespins--you name it, I'll put anything and everything up on my tree. Sometimes, when we get those free Christmas cards in the mail from different Catholic charities, the pictures on them are so beautiful that I cut them out and hang them up as ornaments.
The important thing about a Christmas tree is that it should make you and your family happy. And in this family, we believe that when it comes to ornaments, enough is never enough!