Christmas Tradition

I have this tradition.

It’s one of my favorite Christmas things.  (Yes, I know… lots of things are my ‘favorites’!)  But this tradition is something I started the first year of my married life back in 1983, and have loved carrying it on since then.

We have big families.  Gary and I both grew up in Portales, he with four sisters and me with one.  But my cousins… that list goes on and on!  And we were always together, from both my mom’s and my dad’s families.  Always in our grandparents’ homes, always with our aunts and uncles and great-aunts-and-uncles.  I’m older than all my cousins, and with great delight I carried them around on my hip when they were babies, and played with them as they grew older.

Christmas time has always been just incredible for me.  Marvelous parties, delicious food, games and puzzles, beautiful trees, laughter and more laughter.  Everyone gave everyone a gift back then.  I don’t think “drawing names” was even a phrase in the American language!   If it was, I never heard it.  I always received such precious gifts.  Some were homemade, lots of things sewn for me.  Books, knee-socks, dolls.  When I got married and was officially an adult in charge of my own household with Christmas approaching, I wondered what in the world I could give as Christmas presents.  I wanted to give everyone a gift, but the list was huge!  Obviously it was going to be homemade.  Cooking isn’t my favorite thing, so making everyone something yummy to eat didn’t spring to mind.  But I had married a woodworker, so it made great sense that “we” would make everyone a gift out of wood.  I decided they would be little wooden teddy bear ornaments.  G decided that if “we” were going to do this, then I would have to learn how to run the band-saw and make them myself.

I will never forget those first few bears I cut out.  I so painstakingly worked at those simple little shapes, only to get to the end and lop off an ear, or a leg, or an arm.  I finally got the hang of it and was cranking out bears left and right.  You can spot one of those teddies in the top middle of my picture.

Every year since then I’ve had so much fun deciding on the shape, setting up my assembly line, and making the ornaments.  It’s like baking and decorating a huge batch of cookies, but I’m sawing and sanding and staining and painting.  Sometimes I’m way ahead of schedule, and some years way behind.  This is a “way behind” year!  Mid-December and I’m just now cutting the wood.  Yikes, I need to make almost a hundred of these!  Sometimes they’re just something wintery.  Sometimes they represent something significant in our lives.  Always fun to decide on the theme.  This year… wintery AND kind of applies to G and me.  It’s a secret.  Can’t be telling on the world wide web!

One year Gary got to play racquetball in the world championships… so there’s Santa with a racquet.  I learned to write ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese in honor of our trip to Hong Kong one December.  The year we traveled around the US… had to put a couple of smiley faces on a green Jeep.  There’s a gingerbread man (run, run as fast as you can) for the year I ran my marathon.  Couldn’t wait to make the red barn the year we were building this place we call home.

I love making them and I love hanging them on my tree, knowing that others are hanging them on their trees too.  It’s a little piece of our lives shared with our loved ones, and it’s a tradition I intend to keep as long as I possibly can.   Now… better step away from this computer, get down into the workshop, and join Gary who’s already sawing away!

11 Responses to “Christmas Tradition”

  1. Nico says:

    What a wonderful tradition!

  2. Micah says:

    I love this tradition!

  3. Sue Moore says:

    What fun image imaginings! Does your mind ever sleep Miss Sandy?

  4. Sandy says:

    Marilyn Sue.. you always make me smile!

  5. Marcea Clive says:

    Well, I can’t wait to see the photo of what you are doing this year for your family. Maybe something to do with your recent trip????????? I am too curious.

  6. Kim Mann says:

    Ours are all up on the tree!!

  7. Sandy says:

    Because of my “Facebook Habit”, I always want to click “like” on everyone’s comments. =)

  8. Beverly Green says:

    Love the photo and your comments. Wish I were a cousin and also wish you would come back to visit now that our bar is going up. Our most favorite ornaments are the handmade ones from friends and family.

  9. Jan Purvis says:

    Thanks for our cute ornament…we were wondering about its significance!

  10. Sandy says:

    I’ll tell a little more about it… AFTER they’re all given out! =)

  11. Donna McBroom says:

    Thanks for this wonderful tradition. I know my children wanted all their ornaments as soon as they were married and I hated giving all of them up. Randy has the entire collection. They are an enjoyable part of the holiday…trying to figure out what shape you will make and what it might represent is part of the fun. I enjoy them on my tree each Christmas.

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