Thursday, December 9, 2010


It comes every year and will go on forever.
And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs.
Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart. ~ Marjorie Holmes, American writer.

Earlier this week someone asked me about Christmas heirlooms or keepsakes.  What are those things that we keep  and treasure as reminders of Christmas past? 
Since we really do attempt to live simply (we've not arrived yet by any means, but are striving toward our goals step by step), and I am one who does not enjoy lots of  "stuff that gathers dus" about, our keepsakes are few but treasured. 
As far as Christmas keepsakes go, there are two that immediately come to mind-
The first is a small nativity set that a dear friend and co-worker created for me years ago.  All white, lovely in its simplicity, it is my favorite.  No matter that one of the wise men has a chip in his head or that one of the donkeys is missing a bit of ear ... these small imperfections attest to its being packed and unpacked both at Christmas and in and out of moving boxes many times over the past 20 years, as well as its being endlessly rearranged lovingly by little hands these last 12 Christmases.  It also reminds me that Love, not perfection, is the true mark to strive for at Christmas.


The second is also a nativity, though we have only had it a few years ... maybe 5.  It is a very simple nativity; just Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus which has the appearance of a wood carving (though it is in fact really an inexpensive resin piece).  Joseph "lost his head" the first year this keepsake came to live with us.  And though Super Glue does have its merits, helping Joseph from losing his head again year after year, doesn't seem to be one of them.  This season Joseph is fairly safe, tucked into a high window in our living room, so unless he gets dropped coming down from his lofty heights surely he'll stay in one piece this year. 

Joseph Nativity
I think I love this one because it is a great visual reminder for me to be careful not to lose my head and my focus on Christ during the busyness of the Christmas season! 
This year we attached another memory to poor Joseph's head.  We had a young man from church with us the day we got our Christmas tree and unpacked the Christmas decorations ... When my oldest pulled the nativity out she said, "Well, hopefully Joseph won't lose his head this year."  And we laughed, and then quickly had to explain to our guest, also called Joseph, that we weren't referring to his head!  I'm not sure what he thought  ... but since he was brave enough to come back to our home another time and even help in the community garden (and who doesn't love a garden helper?), I guess we didn't scare him too badly. 
There are other keepsakes ... first Christmas ornaments for 3 sweet girlies, family heirloom ornaments from Great Grandma (old and just a bit funky but still wonderful reminders of a dear, sweet lady), and the box of child-created lovelies that grows by leaps and bounds each Christmas season. 
What are your favorite Christmas keepsakes? 
More on our customs and ways of keeping Christmas later ...
Christmas Blessings to you and yours!
Please visit Jenny Matlock for more Alphabe-Thursday Letter K posts!


  1. My favorite keepsake is a book my grandmother wrote about her life. It is filled with memories and lessons learned.

  2. I have some things that I hold very dear. My favorites tend to be ones I've had a long time that were given to me by someone I love. A few of these are some wise men my mother-in-law made, my olive wood nativity from my sister-in-law (she got it in Israel), and a musical snow globe nativity I bought for myself when my children were small because I wanted something magical for them and could remember a snow globe my mom had that was similar. I especially loved it because it played O Holy Night instead of Silent Night. Much as I love Silent Night, O Holy Night is my favorite.


  3. I have so many favourites ... little mice that i sewed when i was 8 ... my favourite book, from my great auntie when i was 2, called the Shiniest Star, and other little wonderful treats

  4. What a sweet post, Catherine. I too have a nativity that was given to me by my grandmother. She is still alive, but I will always treasure this beautiful gift. I hope to continue the tradition and pass it along to my daughter when starts a family. Thanks for sharing such memorable thoughts.

    Blessings to you and yours this season of Our Lord and Savior's birth.

  5. I treasure all of the ornaments made with my kids over the years. Love your post. Thanks for the pre-holiday pick me up!

  6. Oh, I have many favorites. Funny little heart angels that my mother helped my daughter make. Sweet kindergarten portrait ornaments, lovingly crafted by little hands. A funny little gold painted salt dough heart, made by my husband and me our first Christmas together (not our first Christmas -- alas I married a soldier and we were apart that first Christmas). So many memories! I won't be unpacking them this year. They sit in storage, along with all of our other household goods awaiting the completions of our new home renovation....

  7. sweet k post! thanks for sharing! (:

  8. My favorites are those brass ornaments that have the child's name on them. They always got one every year! Now, the youngest is 31. I have a lot of those ornaments.

  9. My favorite decorations are the sentimental ones. I loved your thoughtful post here. Your beautifull written reminder, enforces to me yet again what is truly important at the holidays.

    Thank you for linking.



Thanks for sharing your thoughts!