BRIKA Holiday Tradition: Giving Ornaments

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Emma Yardley is the wordsmith behind the BRIKA Maker profiles. As a seasoned lifestyle editor, she's seen trends come and go and prefers products designed to go the distance.  [caption id="attachment_826" align="aligncenter" width="531"] The tree ornaments Emma gave her nieces for Christmas last year.[/caption] There are few things I enjoy more than decorating a Christmas tree. Sure a nice bottle of red and long walks on the beach are lovely, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of a well-decorated tree. Even as I type this, there's a Douglas fir in my parents garage back in British Columbia, Canada, all bundled up and bare waiting for me to come home and cover it in string lights, tinsel and glass balls. My parents save this task for me every year because they know how much I love it. And, yes, I do like to evenly distribute the red and silver balls amongst the branches and, yes, the lights do need to spiral up the tree just so, but there's another reason why this is my favorite holiday activity (and, no, it's not the spiked eggnog)...it's the ornaments. [caption id="attachment_827" align="aligncenter" width="531"] Left: What I think my Christmas trees look like.
Right: What my actual Christmas trees look like...a mess of lights that I get my dad to untangle.[/caption] Unwrapping the ornaments that my family has collected over the past 40 years is like reconnecting with old friends. Oh, here are the glass chandelier flowers we picked up in that antique market in Venice! Look, there's the crystal rocking horse my riding instructor gave me when I was six! Here's that weird plastic cottage ornament...why do we still have this, again? Put it on the tree! Each one of them has a story and that's what makes them precious. Every year we buy a new ornament from one of the local craft fairs to add to the collection. Seeing the love and care that goes into the making of these magical ornaments — and personally knowing the people who crafted them — fills me with such joy. When my two nieces, Lucy (2) and Grace (5 months), were born I decided to start another tradition — I'm giving them a new handcrafted ornament every year, so by the time they grow up and get their own trees, they'll have an assortment of precious objects that means something to them as well. This year, they're each getting a Beth Mueller ceramic ornament — both of which have Christmas trees painted on them, naturally. [caption id="attachment_828" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Beth Mueller's charming ceramic tree ornaments.[/caption]


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  • Christina Ross on

    Lovely Emma, and this year Trinity Jack and I did the same…oh-ing and ah-ing at the decorations we pulled out of the Christmas Tub..some were my Mother’s and she has been gone for 35 years…others Trinity made with our neighbours that you know Bly and Garry, others she made…by far the most wonderful memories locked in the Christmas tub to be taken out each year….I give all the little ones in our family an ornament each year…Now granddaughter Jekka has her own family and tree and it is filled with those and other ornaments…thank you Emma and have the most wonderful Christmas with your darling parents and siblings and their children and your own true love . this did not make me cry, the lovely memories you shared make me warm, thank you.

  • Jonathan - Emma's Dad on

    It had me in tears, I turned my head from my computer and looked out of the door and there is the Douglas fir tucked in the corner looking very green in the pouring rain. Can’t wait to bring it inside and once again unravel the Christmas tree lights! What memories it brings back.


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