Let me start by saying SOME of our family NEVER throws any ornaments away so technically all of our ornaments become heirlooms, however there are some memorable treasures that always bring back Christmas memories. I had three favorites, the Nativity, the small cardboard village houses with the hole in the back and the original colored bubble lights that were both an ornament and a light! (In case you can't tell from my previous blogs I was born in the '50's).
My parents bought the simple nativity set when they had my oldest brother (15 years older than me). Both of my brothers, Doug and Willard were in charge of it until I came along. It had a young looking Joseph and Mary and the Baby Jesus had a manger made from a strange brown piece of organic material with small sticks glued on the side for legs (by the time I came along, rubber bands were added). My favorite Shepherd was tall and kind looking and carried a lamb over his shoulders. The camels were very heavy and for some reason, the donkey's horns had springs sticking out them. The barn that Joseph, Mary and the baby stayed in was made out of such rough old wood that I believed that it actually came from Bethlehem! All these years later only a few of the plaster pieces remain.
The Christmas before my brother Doug passed away, he found a complete set just like the original at an antique store and purchased it for me since I was so attached to it. It now is lovingly displayed each year with the remaining original pieces AND the organic brown manger.
I still have the cardboard village houses as well. "Back in the Day" I spent hours putting the fat Christmas lights through the hole in the back. The windows all were covered in colored cellophane and when the lights were shining, all the houses looked like families were home, warm and safe in the snow sheets.
I hope that you and your families are all able to sleep tight tonight like the families in the little cottages.