Pete and I got our Christmas tree on Friday, and I’ve managed to decorate it today. It only took me four hours! By my best guess, I have nearly 300 ornaments on the tree, mostly ornaments made during World War II.
A little history is in order. Once the war started, ornaments that were made in Germany,Czechoslovakia, and Japan were no longer available to the Allies. In order to keep up morale, companies started making their own ornaments. From 1939 to 1941, these ornaments looked pretty much like what Americans were used to seeing. However, once the United States entered the war, shortages and rationing started to kick in. Silver nitrate, which was used to make the ornaments shiny, disappeared in 1942 when it became “non-essential” and was no longer made. To make the ornaments look bright, bits of tinsel were stuck inside – at least until that ran out as well. Then in 1943, the metal that was used to make the caps was declared essential for the war effort. Paper was then used to allow the ornaments be hung.
I love decorating my Christmas tree with these ornaments. I’ve also have many ornaments made by family members or given to me by loved ones over the years. No matter who gave me the ornament, or how I acquired it, what I love best is the memories attached to it. In the case of the WWII ornaments, I don’t know what those memories are, but I can imagine someone decorating a tree, thinking about a loved one far away or no longer with them. And the ornaments given to me all bring back memories: my grandmother sewing cardinals and crocheting snowflakes, my Aunt Dorothy painting a felt barn, my mom’s old first ornaments from the 1950s (very mauve!), my mother-in-law’s love, my Aunt Jane’s flare with color, or my grandmother’s knitting skates with paperclips for the blades. More than anything else, that’s what my tree means to me: memories.
Whatever the season means to you, I hope it brings you joy and happiness, peace and love.
Until next time!