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Thursday, December 8, 2011

DIY Tradition with Cate Masters

Let's turn our thoughts to the simple things that make Christmas special. 

What are your memories with your little ones? Is there a special ornament on your tree?

Trimming the tree with memories
Cate Masters

Rituals and traditions remind us not only of who we are but of what is most important to us.  The Christmas holiday can ground us with a sense of security that centers on family.

Our family puts up the same decorations year after year, building a rich history as year is layered upon year.  New ornaments are added to old on the tree to add to the history.

My youngest daughter cringes as I hang with pride the handmade ornament from when she was just beginning school – a snowflake made from Q-Tips and glue, laden with glitter to impart a glistening glow.  The glue is now yellowed, and she regards the ornament with disdain.  She insists that, if it must be hung on the tree, it should be hidden in the back, where no one will see it. But I still know it’s there – it’s one of my most precious ornaments.

Because I wanted my kids to have a start on their own decorations, each year I’d buy a dated ornament for each child. We hung them on the tree, but as my kids grew into adults, I handed over their treasure trove of ornaments, a boxful of memories to share with their own kids someday. Even after dividing up the decorations, I still have plenty left, and it’s always good to make room for more memories. :)

They can have my Lenox figures, my Metropolitan Museum of Art snowflakes –  just don’t dare touch that crooked little snowflake.  Little hands crafted that one-of-a-kind ornament with me in mind, lovingly adjusting the Q-Tips until they were just so, then dabbling just the right amount of glitter. The glitter didn’t shine nearly as bright as her eyes when she handed it to me.

That snowflake can never be replaced, for no other ornament fills me with a yearning of nostalgia for times when Christmas was a time of magic, when silly grins on the faces of my children were an everyday occurrence.  Now those silly grins are as rare as the Aurora borealis, and even more beautiful.  The days of my children’s childhood are gone forever, captured only in a snowflake made of glue and Q-Tips and glitter.

Multipublished, award-winning author Cate Masters loves stories with a dash of magic, mayhem and romance! When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

NOTE: For other DIY Christmas posts, go here. Be sure to leave a comment because there are goodies involved.


L.G.Smith said...

Wonderful post. My son is a teenager now and I do so miss having a young child around at Christmas. Kind of went through a little grieving process once I realized my son was no longer a little boy. *sniff*

But at Christmas he still gets a little goofy and can't wait to set up the train that runs around the tree. :)

Angelina Rain said...

Great post. And great picture of the Christmas tree.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i used to love decorating the tree when i was a kid. Now, not so much. It would probably be totally different if i had kids to share it with

Cate Masters said...

I went through that for a few years, L.G. Christmas isn't the same without kids to bring the magic to life. Now we have a few grandkids, and it's fun again.

Thanks, Angelina.

Sarah, my challenge these days is hanging the breakable ornaments high enough the grandbabies can't get to them, lol. But it's still fun.

Nadja Notariani said...

I enjoy decorating the Christmas tree every year with my kids. There's nothing quite like sliding all those home-made ornaments out of their bags and hanging them on the tree. It takes you back to days of little hands, eager excitement, and believing in magic.
I still am fortunate to have that with my two youngest (8 and 7 years old) but the 15, 19, & 21 year old kids are now fun in new ways. We can share the excitement of getting things ready for the youngest ones.
Great post!

Cate Masters said...

Thanks Nadja - enjoy them while they're young. :)

And thanks, Maria, for having me at your DIY Christmas. Looking forward to all the great recipes and crafts to come!

Cathy in AK said...

Our poor little tree is laden with ornaments made by my two kids as well as one of my nephews, whose mom is an art teacher : ) He's in his second year at the merchant marine academy and my girls are 14 and 11, but those ornaments and decorations are the heart of my Christmas.

raelynbarclay said...

Wonderful post. I know my parents still have a few of those handmade ornaments from when my sister and I were children, though they don't make it to the tree anymore. And of course I have a bunch from the wee beasties.

In a house of boys/men who could care less about the rest of the decorating, unless we're talking about competing for most lights on the outside of the house, the tree is our thing. The getting, setting up, and decorating of the tree is a family project no matter how busy we are. And for me, the house isn't complete until it's done.

Ellie said...

What would the Christmas tree be like, without those cherished 'old' decorations?

For the past decade, I have sewn handmade felt ornaments in different Christmas shapes (bell, snowman, tree, etc). Then I write on the ornament things that happened that year (a special vacation, an engagement,name of college they're attending, what job they're employed at, etc)

My kids are well past the child stage (sorry girls- we're all getting older), but they still enjoy re-reading those ornaments as they put them on the tree each year!


Stephen Tremp said...

Our Christmas tradition is to see a couple movies on Christmas day. We do the same think on Thanksgiving. Its just something we do and enjoy very much.

Cate Masters said...

That's so cool Cathy. Maybe you should put up two trees! :)

Raelynn, how neat that your parents still have your handmade ornaments. I love the whole process of going out to find the tree too - something even the men can do, lol.

What a great idea, Ellie. It's amazing how the memories come rushing back when we open up that box of decorations, isn't it?

My sister does the same with her family, Stephen. My hubby hates theaters, so we just wait for the DVDs. But Santa likes to bring those. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Our tree is a menagerie of ornaments, dating all the way back to when we were kids. No handmade ones though - no idea what happened to those.

Cate Masters said...

I love that, Alex. My mom was very particular about her trees - she liked them "stylized" (think aluminum trees with all one color balls) so we weren't really encouraged to contribute, lol. But I love the ones my kids made more than any others.

Angela Brown said...

Oh Cate, such a wonderful post. I read it and got a little excited, thinking of what it will be like to pass on special Christmas ornaments to my little one.

Clarissa Draper said...

What a nice tradition to do with your children.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks Angela and Clarissa. Commemorating each year for them really made it special the first year they decorated their own trees.

DL Thomas said...

I didn't put up a tree this year, as I don't have one...but on to other things.
I was able to save one tree decoration that my granddaughter made. I will pass it on to my daughter next year. For this year it is hanging on my computer desk.

I always loved it when my kids would bring home handmade ornaments. Had them for years and they always went on the tree. Now they will have to start the tradition with their kids.

Happy Holidays everyone!

jackie b central texas said...

While I never had children it was a pleasure to put up ornaments every year that we had been given by either friends or family since we married in 1981. My greatest treasure were the old ornaments that my husband had gotten from his mother when his grandmother passed away. The boxes were falling apart and the style of the ornaments were the exact replicas of the ones we had as a child on our tree when my own Mother decorated. I also made a few snowflakes out of cotten yarn that I crocheted as well as some out of felt and sequin kits and some out of bead kits that bought when first married as wanted some kind of hand made ornaments and too poor to buy them already made by someone else.

Now all those are gone thanks to the wildfires in September but this year we went and bought a nice 7 1/2foot artificial pine, decked it with glass looking ornaments on Saturday after Thanksgiving and extra lights so it had some color contrasting with the white lights the tree was already lit with.

Christmas means a few days off to us for my husband to stay home and relax and eat too much. Other than that the presents under the tree are for my furry babies, they love getting their toys on Christmas day the little rats!

Cate Masters said...

Glad to hear you're keeping Christmas in your own way, Deb. Happy holidays!

Jackie, my heart goes out to you. I felt so terrible hearing you lost everything in the wildfire. Glad to hear you're celebrating with your furry babies, who will help brighten your holidays, I'm sure. :)

LD Masterson said...

Those handmade ornaments my kids made still go on the tree, even though they're grown with kids of their own. But maybe even more precious are the ones that used to be my mom's, the ones that decorated our tree as far back as I can remember. And last Christmas we added my dear mum-in-law's. Family history on a Christmas tree.

Cate Masters said...

Wow, how wonderful LD. My mom once had a paper horse ornament that were "antique" when I was a kid, but gave them to her sister. I would have loved to have it, or any from her childhood. How neat.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for being here, Cate. The older we get, the more dear our early traditions become. We don't have children, but no matter how fancy the tree, we still use an old plastic tree topper that has been with us since our first Christmas together--36 years and counting.

Cate Masters said...

So true, Maria. Those few decorations from when Gary and I were first married (34 years!) are treasures for us too.

lisagkendall said...

I miss putting up the big tree with all the old ornaments that the kids made or bought, but with no kids at home any more, and scattered. We travel to my inlaws, so no one is really here to enjoy the tree anyway. Hopefully grandkids will come along, and I can pull out this post.

Cate Masters said...

I hope so too, Lisa. Hope your holidays are merry! :)