December 23, 2012
Everyone seems to have their own ideas about what gives an item value. Some judge by quality or productivity. What job will the item accomplish? Others place a greater price on aesthetics.
Now some say Christmas ornaments don't have much value by these standards. After all, they just sit on a dried-out or fake tree for a few weeks a year and some aren't even very pretty.
Whenever I dig the ornaments out of their musty packaging, I think of the memories they carry. I assess value by the stories behind the object. I still remember how I used to love the glass icicles that reflected the colored lights into kaleidoscopic patterns on the walls. Some ornaments have no relevancy whatsoever to Christmas including the glittering tiger from my grandmother.
Grandma and Grandpa always liked to travel in their RV together. They loved Florida, Ocean City and Nantucket island, Mass. Grandma visited flea markets everywhere they traveled, fueling her obsession for unusual antiques. The product of these stops was tons of old books piled into the attic, more doll clothes than necessary and a collection of stuffed flamingos.
Most of her finds were dingy or broken including the box of ornaments from Nantucket. She kept many of the strange ornaments for herself, giving the Christmas tree a haphazard appearance. She reserved two odd ornaments for me: a polar bear in glitter snow and this tiger. Because they were found at a flea market, they were not without flaw. Both the polar bear and the tiger lack a hook.
In early December of 2010, Grandma passed away from pancreatic cancer. After she died, I clung to any physical reminder of her as if they could open a door way and let me see her again. The broken ornaments now remind me of the happiness she brought to Christmas. After her death, the tiger and other gifts became priceless from sentimental value.
To the rest of the world it's a useless broken ornament. To me, it's a window into a past of Christmas joy that seemed almost unattainable without her.
¿By Hannah Tice,