A Tree Of Memories

Christmastime, to me, has always been about family. It’s about being with those you love, thinking of those who are far, and remembering those who are no longer with us. It is a wonderful time, and sometimes a hard time. But it is always full of love.

My family has started many traditions over the years that I now associated with what gives the holidays meaning for me. One of the most important is the tree–it must meet several requirements to be considered a “real Christmas tree”.

Our First Christmas Tree

First, it has to be real. None of that fake tree crap. It smells wonderful, looks wonderful, and keeping it alive for 3 weeks really makes me feel like I accomplished something.

Second, we have to cut it down ourselves. That’s right, down on those hands and knees in the dirt, sawing that sucker down. Just gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn’t it?

Third, it must have coloured lights. White lights look very classy, I admit, but that’s not the look I want. I leave the classy trees to classy people.

Fourth, it must have moving ornaments. Some of you may not have had the pleasure of these particular motorized ornaments, but they are pretty much the best thing ever. Unless I hear that buzz of tiny motors, it doesn’t seem like a real tree.

The little elves rotate around the tree to "decorate it"

The little elves rotate around the tree to “decorate it”

Lastly, mostly importantly, there are the picture decorations. I could probably suffer through the absence of 2 – 4 as long as I had these (not the fake tree though, never the fake tree). They contain memories, that you can put up on your tree, all the while reminiscing about all the good times, and all the people you love. It is an especially good way to remember loved ones, be they human, pets, or just dear inanimate objects.

Picture Ornament

And because it’s the holiday season, I am going to be generous enough to share the how-to for these cherished decorations.

DIY Picture Decorations


  • thin cardboard (file folders work really well)
  • wrapping paper
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • a pencil
  • a photograph (not an original!)
  • ribbon
  • single hole punch
  • Approximately 3.5″ and 4″ round stencils (I used a small sour cream container for both, it was perfect! Other options are lids, using a compass or mugs)
  • glitter (optional)
The tools (minus the hole punch)

The tools (minus the hole punch)

On the cardboard, draw a circle 3.5″ in diameter and cut it out – if you want to make multiples, this can be kept and used as a template, so I suggest using it to draw another

Trace the 3.5" circle onto the file folder

Trace the 3.5″ circle onto the file folder

Trace a circle 3.5″ in diameter on the back of the photo and cut along the line

Trace 3.5" circle onto the back of the photograph

Trace 3.5″ circle onto the back of the photograph

Use glue stick to glue photo to cardboard

Photo and cardboard glued together

Photo and cardboard glued together

Trace a circle 4″ in diameter on the boring side of the wrapping paper, and cut it out (sensing a pattern yet?)

Trace 4" circle on wrapping paper

Trace 4″ circle on wrapping paper

Put glue all over the boring side of the wrapping paper circle. Stick the exposed cardboard side in the center of the wrapping paper circle, then fold edges of wrapping paper over the photo.

2012-12-20 02.47.25

Glue the photo-cardboard to the wrapping paper and press the exposed edges onto the photo

Use hole punch to put a hole through top of the ornament. Cut about 8″ of ribbon and loop it through the hole, tying off the ends.



Optional fun bonus steps:

  • Put glue on the exposed wrapping paper on the photo side, and sprinkle some glitter on. (Ooooh shiny!)
  • Stick a label on the back of that sucker! 20 years from now you may not remember who that person was, or why the photo was significant. Then you have arguments over who the baby in the picture was, where the picture was taken, who took it…(I may or may not be speaking from personal experience)

This Christmas, I’m very excited to make some new ones including my fiance and his family, so that we can start our own collection of memories to put on our tree every year.

Your turn: what memory would you make an ornament out of?


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