Best tree decorations are made with touch of love

By Regina Villiers. Originally published December 22, 1993 in The Suburban Life, added December 15, 2020

Patrick Watkins pastes his own photograph on his star ornament.

     When it comes time to decorate your trees each holiday season, most of you probably have at least one treasure that you carefully take out of tissue paper and put on your tree, year after year, savoring the memories that it holds.  Something odd and unusual, meaningful only to you.

     My friend, Dianna, puts a bird’s nest on her tree each year.  It was given to her by her brother when they were children, and she has treasured it ever since.  She even took it with her when she went away to college.

     Just about every ornament I put on my tree has a story from the past, but the ones I treasure most were made by my sons when they were children.  There’s a small, clear medicine bottle with a tiny angel inside, made by Kevin, and Kelly won a prize for his painted pinecone ornament.

     Every year I live again the moment he came running home from school with it.  My collection also contains small handprints on paper and paper chains made from red and green construction paper.

     I’m sure that mothers everywhere have similar treasures squirreled away.

     Recently, a group of 4- and 5- year-olds from the Madeira Bright Eyes preschool program made ornaments and future treasures with their mothers on Mom’s Night.  Skads of ornaments were taken home that night, some to be treasured for years to come.

     Materials were set out on tables, along with instructions for making any or all of four ornaments.  The children and their moms did lots of cutting and pasting, along with chatter and laughter while downing cookies and juice.

     Ben Hanson, 4, did a snow job on his mother, Sue, by telling her this night was more fun with better refreshments than Dad’s Night was.  Dad’s only had water and popcorn, he told her, when his dad, Jay, helped him carve a pumpkin.

     The most popular ornament with the children and the moms seemed to be one where a cut-out photograph of the child was pasted on a star and then the star was decorated.

     Patrick Watkins, 4, took special joy in his star ornament with his picture on it.

     Darin Wyly, 5, produced a beautiful star ornament and also worked very hard at folding green tissue paper to make a wreath ornament.  His ornaments reflected his creativity.

     Some of the children worked hard and seriously at the task, while others took more interest in the cookies and socializing.

     Betsy Kaiser, 5, was one of the better workers, working diligently and hardly looking up as she folded and pasted.

     Mary Brigham came with her grandson, Justin Brigham.  This is her second generation of small children’s activities.  She went through it all before with her two sons and a daughter, but she seemed to be enjoying it just as much the second time around.

     Many ornaments were created by small hands and carefully carried home by happy moms that night.

     Twenty years from now, many of those moms will still have some of those ornaments stashed away in tissue paper.  And they’ll get them out and carefully hang them on their trees, reliving the memories just as Dianna does when she resurrects her bird’s nest each Christmas.