Nothing Christmas-y is allowed in my house until the day after Thanksgiving, there isn’t any huge great reason behind this aside from the fact that I feel bad that Thanksgiving gets the cold shoulder each year. Thanksgiving always gives us 4 day weekends. Christmas is on Sunday this year which means, well, nothing.

The Christmas season officially starts when we’re all headed out the door on the Friday after Thanksgiving to the Hallmark store to pick out our annual ornaments. This tradition started many, many years ago when we received an “Our First Christmas Together” ornament in 2001 from our neighbors (who just happened to be one of my ex boyfriend’s parents. Small world right?) We added a new ornament every year, one that meant something to us, a highlight of the previous year.

I bought John Elway for Cody our first year together and our same neighbors gave us Addie’s first Hallmark ornament when I came home from the hospital with her (December 16th, 2004.) As soon as Addie was able to pick out her own ornaments our tree slowly turned pink with ballgowns and ruffles. This year she chose Blair from Barbie Charm School as her ornament.

Last year Cody and I chose The Corpse Bride ornament, there’s a long story behind this one and it’s very sentimental to me…but you probably wouldn’t get it. No offense, just know that in 2010 we celebrated Christmas by hanging a dead chick playing a coffin piano on our tree.

When it came time to pick our our ornament this year none really seemed to fit, which was a first. Cody then pointed up and said “There’s that guy.” By that guy he meant Carl.

Perhaps you’re all aware with my litmus test for the human race, if not, I judge all people I come across by how they feel during the first 15 minutes of the movie ‘Up.’ So when I saw Carl with his hand around Russel as he proudly shows off his Ellie badge, I knew I had found our ornament. I got weepy in the store and I’m getting weepy now.

Best movie ever.

Vivi ended up with the requisite “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament which I promptly filled with a picture of her.

(Confession, Addie’s “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament didn’t actually have a picture of her in it until last year.)

Our tree also holds ornaments that Addie has made, ornaments my daddy has made, ornaments Cody and I made when we were kids and ones we have collected here and there in our travels. We even have Agent P on our tree.

I could never have a “themed” tree. The ones that are all one color with no flair. I love pulling out each ornament the weekend after Thanksgiving and talking about each one with Addie, feeling the flood of emotions that come back with certain ones. John Elway is always hung up first and my dad’s are always the last. It’s an ornament free for all between the two.

When I wrote about my dad’s etsy shop I never could have imagined how many of you would add the ornaments he made in his shop to your tree. That they are *your* ornament for 2011. That your kids will be able to hang them on their own tree someday when they are grown and married. It means a lot to me and even more to my dad. For those of you who ordered them, added his shop to your favorites or even just clicked over there? Thank you for supporting my dad. And thank you from him, you blew him away with your kindness.

Do you have an ornament tradition? What’s your favorite on your tree? (My all time favorite on mine is a glass star painted like Santa. I have no idea why I love it so much, I just do.)

bokeh tree.


DISCLOSURE: A special thanks to Hallmark for sponsoring this post as part of their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign. While I wasn’t asked to write about ornaments specifically, they are so much a part of our life I can’t not write about them. All ornaments were purchased by me. Keepsake ornaments are available for purchase in store and online if you wanted to start a little tradition of your own.



  1. @ClassyFabSarah, Kitschy trees ‘r’ us.

  2. @Katie, *sigh* that makes me so happy.

  3. OMG we do the exact same thing! Okay maybe not exact because we wait until December 6th (St. Nickolas Day in Poland) to exchange our ornaments. It’s something my husband and I started when we were dating and continued on now that we have kids. We have so many awesome ornaments now with great memories. This year Ben’s getting a scooby doo one that sings the theme song!

    Casey Reply:

    @Marta, I did a report on Poland in 6th grade and have always wanted to be Polish since.

  4. My tradition is much the same way but I pick the ornaments of what I believe fits my 4 children each year. I wrap them and on Christmas Eve they get to open that gift and hang their ornament. When my daughter married last year she took her collection with her.

  5. i love the movie Up so much that I have the Ellie badge tattooed on my upper inner arm.

  6. Bought ornaments for the sports my kids played. When they moved out, they got them as a gift. I still love the ones they made in preschool and now have started collecting grandchildren ornaments. Hate to take them down.

  7. Jeff Frantz says:

    We put up 3 trees. Our main tree is not really a theme tree but could be labled a Hallmark tree. It is not entirely Hallmark but close. We have been married 36 years and add a Hallmark ornament every year. Early ones varied but more recently they are Frosty Freinds. We have 3 daughters, 30, 26, and 24. There is a Hallmark ornament for every one of their years starting with 3 different baby’s first Christmas ornaments. Their collections have varied over the years but include the crayola series, the candy series, the little mice series, the Grinch series, and various other series. So this year that tree had a minimum of 116 Hallmark ornaments. My favorite, and one of our first, is Santa in his sleigh with some reindeer in front. That is the first ornament on the tree, in the front, at the top just under the Angel. Another tree is decorated with ornaments received as gifts and the third tree is decorated with ornaments from early in our marriage before kids. There are some Hallmark ornaments mixed in on these trees. That is just a little about our traditions. Thank you for allowing me to share.

  8. Susan Murphy says:

    I wanted to chime in as an “older” person here:) I was exactly like you, having ornaments for every year, always picked up travel ornaments, do our Christmas Together still for my adult children, cherish the ones my
    Mom gave every year (she gave my children the first of those little angels for her last mad in 1988) and I just bought this year’s Viola for a new member of our family:) just to give you perspective…..I gave my four children all their ornaments when they grew up and still give my 8 grandsons a Hallmark every year:) BUT have to share that when you get to be 67:) you can also enjoy doing a themed tree.,… that I mean that I have soooo many ornaments at this age that I can sort then and have enough for a theme… this year was all travel, last year was patriotic, have had a red and white tree, a Victorian tree with old family pictures added……and still cherish each and every one:) just a little word in defense of a theme…….it is all in perspective:) NOW I have to go and rent UP……I think I am going to like it:)