• Jessica Sherry

Christmas Ornament Stories

The best Christmas ornaments tell stories. While this hits me every year when putting up the tree, it slapped me in the face especially when my brother sent me a picture of an empty COVID-19 vaccine vial his husband brought home from work. He’s going to make it into an ornament—a fitting reminder of 2020 and how a crazy year ends with hope. My brother-in-law, an essential worker who has, like millions of others, put himself at risk for far too long, will finally receive his vaccine today. Merry Christmas, World! That’s a pretty good ornament story.



Surely, there will be many ornamental reminders of 2020 decorating our trees this year and for years to come. Travel-sized hand sanitizer bottles and masks are just the right size for a tree. More pics of family members we haven’t been able to see as much. Homemade creations given all the at-home time we’ve had. Or perhaps we’ll give some of our old ornaments suitable makeovers. Like this one… Though Face Mask Santa doesn't have quite the same charm as normal Jolly Old Saint Nick... hmm.


Amid the craziness (I'm still on the hunt for a tree topper, guys), this year spent in the Upside-Down has heightened hopes for a "fun, old-fashioned family Christmas."



It feels really, really good to do something normal when nothing has been.


We're watching ALL the movies. How many times can one person watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? We're wrapping the presents. Planning good meals. Plugging in the lights. We're doing Christmas right, though maybe not as over-the-top as Clark. 25,000 twinkle lights anyone? I don't think so.


Unboxing my tree, homemade ornaments created by my kids over the years get even the snarkiest people (uh, me) sappy and sentimental. Funny how a popsicle stick reindeer can inspire warm fuzzies or spark stories about the good old days. Ornaments that were gifts from my students always make me miss teaching. Gifts from friends, places we’ve been, things we’re into—ornaments are a family’s history. Breaking out the tree and hanging ornaments lets us relive that history (and on such a mind-blowing-ly historic year!).


The whole history thing resonates especially when I unpack the Virginia Tech ornaments my in-laws have been giving us every year. Not only do they spark fond memories of my alma mater (the same alma mater of my husband, brother, and three brothers-in-law), but taken all together, they represent the many awesome years I’ve been with hubs and a part of his family. Twenty-four years in June. That’s a long-ass, epic story—one I love reminiscing about as we unbox each one. Getting a VT ornament every year is now a tradition, and few gifts turn into such perfect treasures.


Christmas trees change with us. In the beginning of our life together, hubs and I bought whatever cutesy, cheap things we could to get our Christmas tree started and make it pretty. Over the years, we’ve thrown out the “filler” ornaments for all the ones that matter—for ornaments with stories.


My Beach Tree, shining bright blue lights in one of my front windows, shares our love for the beach (duh) but also highlights the treasures we've found there. Including these clever shell Santas we made...

Getting crafty with Abby always makes for a good story. :)


She's in the kitchen right now, prepping dough for gingerbreads, guys. So, a lovely, but sappy story about Christmas Cookies might be next... hmm.


Anyway, for all the stories (ornamental or otherwise) you'll remember and create this year, the story of 2020 is ending (thank goodness) making Christmas all the merrier.


Share your ornament stories below or check out more family craziness at www.coffeebrained.com.

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