Choosing Ornaments for Your Holiday Tree

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Choosing Ornaments for Your Holiday Tree

Christmas Ornaments
Christmas Ornaments. Canva Collage

The evergreen originates as a pagan symbol during the holidays.

How you decorate your holiday tree can reflect your personal belief system, but it doesn't have to be pagan or Christian. Both my husband and I were raised in Christian homes. He was raised Catholic. My earliest roots in religion come from attending the Wesleyan Methodist Church with my parents and siblings. Typically the Christmas trees of my childhood were adorned with candy canes, angels, stars, bells, tinsel, and paper garland. My husband now is a self-proclaimed atheist and I would best be described as pagan. The purpose of this gallery and sharing photos of favorite ornaments is to illustrate how you can decorate your Christmas Tree (or Holiday tree, call it whatever you like) with ornaments or decorations that represent who you are, your spiritual leanings, your hobbies, and the people in your life who are most dear to you. Our family's Christmas tree is color-themed in white and gold, but beyond that there are no other decorating rules.

Tree Trimming Traditions

My husband and I, who are now empty nesters, have our own tree trimming tradition. Decorating the tree is a bit different now from when our three kids were living at home. Putting our tree up is a three to four day project.

My Tree Trimming Story

The first two days I don't get involved. It is my husband who handles dragging the tree and the stored boxes of decorations down from the attic. On the second day he assembles the tree and places the strings of lights. He is very meticulous how he does this. He's a Virgo, just so you understand it is his nature to be persnickety and likes to have the lights strung "just right." On the third day it is my turn to place the ribbon garland on the lighted tree. The final step will be to hang the ornaments on our tree together as a couple. Trimming the tree in stages is a process that we didn't have the leisure time to do before my husband was retired and the kids were rambling about the house.

One year while I was walking circles around our tree placing the garland on the branches I was gifted with some precious time of reflection. Some tasks, such as garlanding a tree, are perfect for allowing the mind to reflect on things. As I was circling the tree and gently untwisting the curled ribbon from its cardboard roll and weaving it in and around the tree, I allowed my mind to wander. I envisioned the garland as a life making its way along a winding pathway and finding its way through natural twists and turns.

Life is like garland, twisted at times and other times we feel as if we are going in circles. But... if you stop now and again and take a moment to turn around and look back at the path you have traveled to realize just how far you've come, well, it can be pretty amazing.

Representative of diversity and tolerance for differences in belief systems.

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Buddha Ornament

Celebrating Diversity Jolly Buddha. (c) Joe Desy

I ordered this golden Buddha in meditation pose ornament from eBay several years ago. When I saw it for auction, I simply had to bid on it. Your might say it was an impulse buy! Don't worry, I got it for a bargain. This Buddha's purpose on the tree is to represent diversity and tolerance for differences in belief systems, especially during the holiday season. It may seem odd or even irreverent to some people to have a Buddha, or menorah ornament hanging from a Christmas tree, but not to me. It is very important to me to be respectful of all beliefs.

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Memorial Ornaments

Honoring the Dead Christmas Mouse. (c) Joe Desy

Ornaments that are representative of loved ones who are no longer with us.

This Christmas mouse is a nostalgic addition to my tree. The body of this tiny mouse is less than one inch in length. It was hand-stitched with love by my grandmother (now deceased) many years ago. I can visualize her sitting on her davenport stuffing it and stitching up the underbelly of the little critter. She used two red glass bead for the eyes and pink thread for its nose. My grandmother loved Christmas and planned for it all year long. Nestling the tiny felt-cloth mouse onto some low branch of my Christmas each year floods me with memories of going to my grandparents' home to visit many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on Christmas Day. Even if you don't have any handmade ornaments from your ancestors you could certainly craft some of your own memorial ornaments or decorations using old family photographs. My grandfather worked for the railroad, so the choo choo train underneath our tree invokes fond memories of him.

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Reiki Angel Bear

Display Your Passion Reiki Angel Bear. (c) Joe Desy

What is your passion? Do you have an ornament on your holiday tree that reflects your passion?

The healing art of Reiki is a passion of my life. Reiki bears are healing tools used by many Reiki practitioners as surrogates when they are giving absentia Reiki treatments. The purpose of a surrogate is a "focusing tool" held in the palms of hands for the Reiki to flow with the intention for the energies to be sent to someone who is not present. I love Reiki and I also love angels. Finding this Christmas bear angel to add to my collection of ornaments a couple of years ago was a delight. If you were to see my tree in its entirety you would find several angels hanging on it. What is your passion? Do you have an ornament on your holiday tree that expresses your passion? I hope you do.

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Reflective Ornaments

Sun and Star Ornaments
Symbolizes Light and Optimism Sun and Star Ornaments. (c) Joe Desy

Choose ornaments that symbolize light will enliven your spirit and help make you smile.

You may discover that my tree serves as a healing tree, beyond stringed lights, I have selected ornaments that also give light (angel halos, sun beams, etc.). The sun is a wonderful healer in its own right. And sadly, in the western hemisphere, the sun often takes sabbatical during the holidays leaving us with dark and gloomy days. I have a set of five sun and star-faced ornaments that add a taste of light and optimism to the holiday. Joy to the World! and all that jazz.

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Hobby Ornaments

Favorite Zodiac Suns Sign Ornaments Hobby Related Ornaments. (c) Joe Desy

Choosing ornaments that reflect your interests and hobbies.

Several years ago my husband gifted me with a set of twelve ornaments that represent the twelve zodiac sun signs. Oh, they are so beautiful! The one pictured here is of the scorpion. I'm a Scorpio! Beyond the visual and tactile beauty of these ornaments I appreciate that they represent a topic that I find very interesting, astrology. I studied astrology intensely for over a year in the eighties, reading over fifty books during that period. I ate and slept astrology. My husband, on the other hand poo-poos astrology but has a scientific interest in astronomy. On the flipside of each of the zodiac ornaments are tiny stars that replicate the constellation placements. How cool is that! Whenever you can find ornaments that reflect your interests, you are very lucky indeed.

What I also like about this set of ornaments is that while I hang them on the tree I think about the individuals in my family who are the various sun signs. For example my sisters are Capricorn, Taurus, and Libra. My sons are Sagittarius and Taurus, My father and husband are Virgos. My mother and daughter are both Cancers. My new grandson is a Gemini. You get the gist.

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Santa Claus Ornament

Ornaments that honor your inner child. Inner Child Ornament. (c) Joe Desy

Santa or toy-themed ornaments will tickle the child spirit inside of you.

This Santa Claus made his debut on our Christmas tree about four years ago. He appeared on a department store shelf after a rather long day of holiday shopping. His was a timely appearance too because I was beginning to feel very Grinch-like, my feet were swollen and weary from looking for last minute gifts. Santa is a great symbol that reflects the heart of children during the holidays. Choose Santa or toy-themed ornaments that will soothe your inner child. You'll be happier for it!

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Pet Ornaments

Christmas and Your Pet Pet Ornaments. (c) Joe Desy

Animal owners like to include ornaments on their tree that resemble their pets.

There are plenty of ornaments available in the markets depicting cats and dogs. Pet lovers are more than happy to include ornaments on their tree that look like their own pets. We have a corn snake and a Quaker parrot in our home and I'll tell you snake ornaments are not as easily found. Parrot ornaments are easier to find but not so much when when trying to keep in my one rule (gold and white color-theme). The best I could find was of a white bird inside a gold birdcage. It is cute. We also have Christmas doves and other bird ornaments on our tree representing our love of birds. Lots of people buy and wrap presents for their pets to put under the holiday tree. Isn't that funny? I confess, I've done it too. Animals are natural healers, having an animal in your home is very good chi. It adds life energy!

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Handcrafted Ornaments

Angel Craft Ornament Hand-Crafted Angel Ornament. (c) Joe Desy

Any ornaments that have been made by healing hands are a perfect pick for your holiday tree.

Hand-crafted ornaments are very special. Anyone who has kindergarten art taped to their refrigerator understands this. I didn't have my elegant white and gold themed tree until my children were almost grown. During their early years the family tree was adorned with many ornaments my sons and daughter crafted during their grade school years. I no longer have my children's ornaments because I gave them to the kids for decorating their trees now that they have their own homes. And although I no longer have kids art on my tree I do have a few select ornaments that my mother and grandmother made. The white angel ornament pictured here was sewn by my mother. Mothers are natural nurturers, healing is in their hands.

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Family Heirloom Ornaments

Holidays and Families Heirloom Angel Ornament. (c) Joe Desy

Adorn your Christmas tree with cherished ornaments that have been passed down through the generations.

How better to celebrate family and the holidays than to adorn your Christmas tree with cherished ornaments that have been passed down in your family. I have half a dozen beaded-bells and this beloved beaded angel ornament my maternal grandmother beaded. If you don't have any heirloom ornaments and feel badly, then all the more reason to think about starting a trend. Choose memory-making ornaments for your tree this year that your children or grandchildren will appreciate owning in the years to come.

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Souvenier Ornaments

Vacation Memories Souvenier Ornaments. (c) Joe Desy

While traveling keep your eyes open for memorable souveniers that could possibly adorn your holiday tree.

A couple of things my husband and I enjoy collecting are refrigerator magnets and Christmas ornaments from various vacation spots. On our tree we have a pineapple from our Hawaiian Christmas vacation in 1991, and an elk ornament from the Rockies. Pictured here is a souvenier T-Rex ornament from the The Field Museum in Chicago. My husband loves dinosaurs, visiting Sue was a highlight of his lifetime. So, when you are traveling keep your eyes open for memorable souveniers that could possibly adorn your holiday tree and bring back cherished memories.

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Recycled Ornaments

poinsettia ornament
Frugal and Delightful! Recycled Ornaments. (c) Joe Desy

Ornaments don't have to be bought, they can be made from old stuff you find around the house if you have an imaginative mind.

This poinsettia ornament was made from recycled tin ceiling materials. I didn't craft it, I'm not so artsy! I discovered the poinsettia when visiting a local tea parlor's gift shop a couple of years ago. I enjoy supporting local businesses and also appreciate art crafted from recycled materials. My parents raised me from a frugal sensibility that I try to embrace. Ornaments don't have to be bought, they can be made from old stuff you find around the house if you have an imaginative mind. Also, if you have a little extra cash to release into the monetary ebb and flow, supporting local businesses or starving artists is a good direction to go.

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Stained Glass Angel

Traditional Angel Tree Topper Angel Tree Topper. (c) Joe Desy

The sentimental side of me wants to have an angel atop my holiday tree, so I give into that desire. I love the angels and their message of love and support for the human condition. How you choose to top your tree is entirely up to you, the angels won't mind if you choose to go another route and forgo the traditional Christmas star or angel. Have some fun! Happy Holidays.

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Holiday Tree at My Home

Christmas tree © Joe Desy

This is a photo of the tree in all its glory in our home, complete with a lighted village and electric train that runs on a circular track below its branches. Christmas tree, Solstice tree, Yule tree, or call your holiday tree whatever you like... the evergreen is a pagan symbol for the holidays. Ours is a blue spruce of the artificial variety. I like to sit in a dark room at night and squint my eyes for a beautiful blurry view of the decorated lighted tree.