I LOVE Christmas. It really is the most glorious time of the year (except for that perfect Fall day with a bonfire and changing leaves… or any day where I’m splayed out on a beach with a frosty drink in my hand).
Like many of you, our little family went Christmas tree shopping over the weekend.
Then – like most of you – we brought our tree in the house, shoved it in a tree stand and unwrapped the plastic wrap so that the limbs could breathe again. My husband and Jack were then shooed towards the living room while I brought up the Christmas ornaments and lights.
This is where it gets a bit…dorky.
I’ve been collecting Wizard of Oz ornaments from Hallmark for over 20 years.
That’s right, this tree looks like any other tree from far away…
But when you get a little closer, you see it.
Almost 25 ornaments of different scenes and characters from the Wizard of Oz.
It started quite innocently many years ago. As part of our Christmas gift, my paternal grandparents would allow each of the grandchildren to pick out an ornament from the Hallmark catalog. This usually would happen during the summer, way before sugarplums were twerking anywhere near our heads. Then, on Christmas Day we would receive our ornament along with our bounty of gifts.
For a few years, I just picked out random stuff. I was a kid, so it was mostly dancing ballerinas and cute little Christmas mice. Then in 1996, I chose a little Emerald City music box-like hanging ornament. It was awesome and when you plugged it in to a light socket, the little characters would spin on the yellow brick road and “We’re Off to See the Wizard” would play.
I was hooked.
From then on, I’d choose a Wizard of Oz ornament every year. When I received the Miss Gulch ornament in 1997, I remember my grandmother playing with the wheels on the bike… and saying how nice it was. Every year brought a shiny new ornament for our family tree and when I moved out into my own house, I took my collection with me.
The year that I moved into my first townhouse was also the year that my grandmother passed away. However, she left my grandfather pages and pages of written instructions which included directions on collecting the Christmas ornament orders from the grandchildren.
For the next few years, I continued to pick out my Wizard of Oz ornaments and eventually decorated my own tree with JUST the collection and some simple balls to fill out the extra space. I remember the first Christmas that Travis and I were together. He wandered over to the Christmas tree, looked around a bit and then turned slowly and said, “wow…this tree is very…girlie.”
We would laugh hysterically every time I turned on the tree and all the music box voices would yell out at and sing at the same time. The noise would startle Potter from his perpetually relaxed position on the couch. Every single time.
Last year my grandpa had some health issues and decided to skip the ornaments. I found out on Christmas Day when I looked around for that familiar Hallmark box. It felt like a piece of my Christmas was gone. Like my grandmother had finally moved on and left us.
I couldn’t let my collection end though and was lucky to score the 2012 ornament off ebay after the holidays. This year, I checked in and found out that my grandfather is finished with giving the grandchildren their ornaments. It’s really the end…after more than twenty years. And it makes me incredibly sad that Jack will never be a part of this tradition. Perhaps we will start a new tradition.
But for now, I made my own trip to the Hallmark store to purchase the latest ornament for my collection. Because it makes me happy and I can imagine my grandmother smiling from above at the pretty green in the lion’s cape.
Maybe someday Jack will be the one buying me my yearly ornament. Maybe he will roll his eyes at his silly mom with the Wizard of Oz tree. Or maybe he too will smile every time the tree lights go on and “The GREAT and POWERFUL OZ” screams out of an ornament while another sings about the wonders that must exist on the other side of the rainbow.
Do you have a collection that you treasure? How did it start and do you feel guilty of you miss a chance to add to it?