A Life in Ornaments

As soon as my wife and I were married we decided on a few things.  The first was that we were going to travel the world together and have amazing adventures.  This kicked off immediately as we honeymooned in Mexico, Belize, and the Caymen Islands, thanks to a Carnival cruise.  The second was that we needed a collection to commemorate our escapades; a set of souvenirs to gather on our way around the best places on Earth.  While we were on the cruise we decided to make the collection one of Christmas tree ornaments, and we’ve been amassing them ever since

Each year, as we decorate our tree, I am reminded of all the wonderful things we have done over the past year and the many years preceding. I love most of the decorations that we hang on our tree, but none so much as the ones that bring with them special memories of time spent with my wife and family, and so every December I have the opportunity to relive my marriage, one ornament at a time.  It is, perhaps, my favorite thing to do all year.

Handmade ornament from Belize

We wanted to get something handmade from Belize, and this ornament caught our eye.  Suddenly, a new tradition was born.

The Cruise Ship

We went back to the ship and immediately picked up our second ornament: this replica of the ship we were sailing on.

Manatee ornament from Mexico

We were having a hard time finding an ornament in the fake touristy Mexican port that hosted our ship, but then at a little roadside stand we found this carved wooden manatee.

Scuba Santa with Sting Ray

The Cayman Islands have all possible forms of tourist swag, so an ornament was easy to find.  We picked this one because we spent our day swimming with sting rays there.

Lighthouse from P.E.I.

Our first big post-honeymoon trip was to Prince Edward Island, and we loved this lighthouse painted onto a light bulb.

Santa Mickey

Our second major trip was to Walt Disney World.  Since you can get anything you want there with Mickey’s face on it, finding an ornament we liked was not difficult.  If anything, there were too many to choose from!

Luray Caverns

Our third anniversary was spent white water rafting in West Virginia, and on our way there we stopped at Luray Caverns in Virginia.


For our fourth anniversary we decided to take a cheesy trip to Branson, Missouri and picked this ornament up while we were there.

Christ of the Ozarks

But lest you think we only went to Branson for the cheese, we took a side trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  This amazing town, built on a steep cliff of sorts, had a great view of a weird looking statue, and while we were unable to find an ornament, we did find this magnet, which we hang on our tree every year using a hair elastic.

Las Vegas

Our fifth anniversary was spent in Vegas getting married by an Elvis impersonator.  Obviously.

Maryland Renaissance Festival

This is such an important part of our adventuring as a family that we decided to try and get an ornament that represented it.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find one, but we did get this magnet and stuck a hook in it!

Fort McHenry

While we lived in Baltimore we decided to explore Ft. McHenry with Ruby and Bear, and when we saw that they sold ornaments, we knew that there would be one hanging on our tree that year.

Hershey Bar

A fun and exciting trip to Hershey Park with the kids yielded yet another fun and exciting ornament for the tree.  How can you go wrong with chocolate and bears? 

Disney Snowflake

Another trip to Walt Disney World meant another Disney ornament.  We let Ruby help pick this one out. 

Portland Head Lighthouse

On our lighthouse tour of Maine with my Dad, we picked up this nice painted ornament of one of our favorite lighthouses.


After I sang at Fenway Park last summer we traveled to Cape Cod for a few days and picked out this ornament to commemorate the trip.  It was a mermaid inside of a light bulb, but the light bulb has since broken.  I got all of the glass out of it and smoothed out the rough edges, and now it is just a mermaid.

Quebec City

Last year my wife and I made it up to Quebec City for our anniversary, and we spent a lot of time looking through shops for an ornament.  When we found this one, we were pretty psyched.  Because of how awesome it is.

Hot Air Balloon

This year we took a trip to Canada for a hot air balloon festival and I spent the last few moments we were there running from booth to booth, looking for an ATM that would take my debit card, and an ornament.  I found both, right at the last second.  Okay, fine, it’s a keychain.  But it’s close enough.

Crayola Bear

On this year’s pilgrimage to the Renaissance Festival we made a stop at the Crayola Crayon Factory, where we got this nice bear flying a crayon plane, which Edward promptly broke, but which I fixed using half of a toothpick and some super glue.  

Roads and Rails Museum

The Roads and Rails Museum in Frederick, MD had a big sale on their 2011 ornaments when we were there a few weeks ago.  Not to worry!  I crossed out the 2011 and wrote 2013 on it.  Problem solved!

As we continue to travel and adventure with the children, one of my most favorite parts of each trip is looking for something to take home with us that we can hang on our tree.  My wife has informed me that, at this rate, we are going to eventually need two trees to hang everything on, but that’s okay with me.  I love trees.  In fact, next time we go out to get a tree, maybe we can get an ornament from the tree place to commemorate it.  Where good memories are concerned, the more the merrier.

Posted in Arkansas, Belize, Canada, Cayman Islands, Christmas Tree, Crayola Factory, Hershey Park, Lighthouse, Maine, Mexico, Missouri, Quebec City, Renaissance Festival, Travel, Vacation, Virgina, Walt Disney World.

One Comment

  1. Adorable! We do the same thing. We started on a trip to Mexico when we got engaged, and that is my favorite ornament every year, the one that started it off. The stories of your fixes is almost just as precious!

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