Arts & Culture

Readers’ Most Treasured Holiday Decorations

Beloved ornaments that harken to seasons past

photo: Adobe Images


We recently asked readers, “What’s the holiday decoration you’re most looking forward to pulling down from the attic?” Here are some of their responses:


My assortment of old kitchen gadgets from my grandmothers’ kitchens. I love my kitchen tree, brings back so many good memories of them cooking. Nothing fancy, just the basics. —Suzanne O.


We lost almost all of our decorations in a fire in 1991. Now after more than thirty years, the “new” decorations are almost as precious as the ones that burned. I love the cross that my husband had made for our church’s sacristy. It survived the fire with just a little charring. —Linda H.


No doubt, always those hand-made ornaments made by our girls as they grew up, to place up front on the fresh-cut tree. —David G.


My vintage ceramic Christmas trees with the colored lights. They’re the first decorations to light up the house since I was a child. —April S.


The angel for the top of the tree. It was on my mother’s tree from 1930 until 2011, and now tops our tree. She’s a little tattered and has a chipped face, but she’s still beautiful and her halo still lights up. —Sally K.


A downright eerie, wind-up Santa that my father gave me about twenty years ago. It was old when he gave it to me, and I’d love to know its history. —Tammy T.


My 1957 Coca-Cola Santa Claus. —Kim W.


When we were first married we didn’t have Christmas decorations (or much money), so I bought a bag of wooden alphabet blocks and found that I could make the words JOY and NOEL from the blocks. My husband drilled a hole through the blocks and I put them into two macrame hangers. We still put them up each Christmas and it always brings a big smile to my face. —Rhonda F.


All of them! As I age, the Christmas season grows shorter and shorter…and I do not complain about seeing stores decorated early simply because it makes me happy. —Franklin R.


My handmade Mr. Bingle doll. We made them in grammar school of the iconic symbol of Christmas in New Orleans. While I no longer live there, the arrival of Mr. Bingle both on television locally and in the store on Canal Street was the true start of Christmas in New Orleans in the Sixties. —Nikki L.


Our annual Christmas pictures with Santa. I take each photo and set them out in order.  Everyone loves the display. The outfits, haircuts, and even the Santa are always a great topic of conversation among family and guests. The kids are required to take one together every year, and they kick, scream, and moan about the experience. My children are twenty-three, twenty-one, eighteen, and ten, and they have been told they must participate until our youngest is eighteen. It is one of very few traditions, and treasured! —Paula M.


My gaudy sequined hand-crafted (by me) kids’ and grandkids’ stockings. I looove them. —Jenny T.


My Hanukkah menorah. —Stephanie K.


When our house blew away during a tornado in 2014, all of our Christmas decorations stored in the attic were literally gone with the wind. One of the many friends who came to help us clear through the rubble found two ornaments about thirty yards from our house, lying in the grass by the road.  Miraculously, they were the ornaments that I bought to commemorate each of my sons’ first Christmas! We love to get them out of storage each year and see them as a reminder of God’s grace. —Jamie C.


Our lighted Frosty the Snowman and I have a love/hate relationship. In the end, Frosty abides. —Jere B.


Our complete collection of all the characters from the Rudolph claymation TV show from yesteryear. —Roy K.


Each Christmas I look forward to seeing the tree-top angel that decorated the tree in my childhood. Since I am eighty years old now, it has so many memories, especially the year our newest cat climbed the tree and tipped it over. I was only concerned about that angel! —Gail K.


I love when my neighbors across the street pull down their “leg lamp” and place it front and center in their bay window. It’s the best! —Martha G.


My silver-plated sprig of mistletoe that hangs from a beam across my entryway. —Ann W.


I have three beautifully colored Christmas books that my father bought years ago. I put them out every year and smile while I’m crying. —Kathleen B.


My daddy’s first Christmas Santa ornament in 1916. It’s a little cardboard chimney with Santa. It has only missed one Christmas since 1916. —Anna Marie C.


I have a giant stuffed toy soldier that has graced the porch of my parents’ house and then mine for thirty-eight years. —Leanne B.


The vintage Santas that my father hand-carved. —Tia Z.


My husband’s nativity scene he inherited from his Czech grandmother that was made by the famous Czech ceramicist Julie Horova. It consists of individual pottery pieces that include Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, farm animals, palm trees, and angels. A traditional scene made modern and timeless in its artistry displayed on an Alabama farm table. —Jane G.


Always the silver aluminum tree from our childhood home. Still in great shape! —Robin H.


My husband’s great grandmother Bess went to the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. She bought a small cranberry glass cup that was etched with her name and “St. Louis 1904.” I found it years ago and because of the color thought it would be very sentimental tied onto the tree with silver ribbon. It’s always placed front and center. —Susan T.


My beloved grandmother’s nativity scene. Always on display prominently every year of my sixty-four years, and many years before that. —Violet B. 


In the summer of 1973, I was a hippie-wanna-be, hitchhiking around Europe with my backpack and bell-bottom jeans. In Chartres, France, I bought a dozen tiny ceramic manger scene figures in a store in the shadows of the famous cathedral. The manger scene survived the summer in my backpack, in a small cardboard box of excelsior. It has come out every Christmas for the past forty-eight years, reminding me of that intrepid teenager from long ago. —Ann B.


I am most looking forward to hanging my collection of White House ornaments from 1981-2022. They make a beautiful tree! —Terrill M.


All of them. Each time I open a container of ornaments, it’s like, “Well, hello there old friend—I’ve missed you!” —Sylvia V.


My mother’s vintage nativity scene. As my brother says, it was the first “action heroes” he played with. —Ali R.


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