A few weeks ago we received a post card from our family cemetery letting us know that they would be placing memorial Christmas trees in their chapel area and we were invited to bring ornaments in memory of our loved ones. We are blessed to have known many people who were laid to rest at this cemetery and I truly wanted to make ornaments for every single one of them, but that just wasn't practical. Instead, I chose a select few. We (my mom and I) didn't want to spend a fortune on the ornaments because no where on the invitation did it say whether or not we'd be able to retrieve them at the end of the season.
We bought plain, solid colored balls (a box of 8 for $4.95!) and headed to my craft room where we used paint pens, punches, and ribbon to personalize them. Each ornament got a double ribbon tie at the top, a name, and a hang tag. On the front of the hang tag was our loved ones full name and as much of the birth and death information as we had available to us, and on the back of each tag was a short personal message from us to them in heaven.
In addition to that box of 8 ornaments, I also purchased two separately. There was a lady at a local craft fair would painted names on ornaments for $5, so I bought one for our son Henry in orange (his favorite color) and added an orange ribbon and a paw print ribbon, keeping with his love of animals.
I also found a snowflake at Hobby Lobby that I just couldn't resist for my goddaughter Kejerah, who died at two months old of SIDS. I couldn't write a name on the snowflake, so I just hung the tag from the bottom and attached a small burgundy stitched ribbon at the top. Simple, but perfect. It was a snowy night, the night Kejerah died, and I always think of her when it snows even now. I'm sure I always will.
And here is the set of 8. We really weren't sure what to expect in terms of what other people would be doing. It was nice looking through the trees (as much as we could with a four year old in tow). There were shaped ornaments with no words whatsoever, and others that had names and dates on them. A huge variety. We may reuse these next year, but we may also swap them out for more meaningful ones for each individual person. A flamingo for my grandma (she HATED lawn flamingos... it got to be a standing joke between the two of us that we'd buy each other flamingo stuff when we saw it. :)), maybe a fish for my grandpa, the master fisherman. A daisy for Cheryl, our cousin whose life ended far too soon after a courageous battle with cancer, a cardinal for Aunt Ferne, the most recent relative to join our heavenly family less than a month ago.... We'll have to wait and see what we find. Or, maybe we will keep using these but add on for other friends and relatives we didn't cover this year. Time will tell.