Yesterday I attended a fabulous ornament exchange in the home of a friend. There were 12 women in attendance, each of whom had been invited months in advance, with specific instructions on how to prepare for the exchange.
The guidelines were as following:
1. After agreeing to participate in the exchange, you must make every effort to attend – eleven other ladies are counting on you to be there!
2. Bring identical 12 ornaments – 11 to share and one to keep
3. The ornaments should be made by you
4. Come prepared to share why you made the ornament you did
4. Bring a salad or dessert for a luncheon
It was so enjoyable to meet new friends, learn the stories behind the ornaments, and come home with a dozen genuine treasures. I wanted to share with you, in the same order that they were presented, the ornaments of our exchange.
This window ornament was made by the hostess of our exchange. She lived in New England at one time, and fell in love with the tradition of hanging wreaths in her front windows at Christmas time. She had four large windows in her previous home, and always adorned them with lovely wreaths. It was fun to glance at the windows of her home where we sat, and see beautiful wreaths hanging there.
Our next ornament was shared by a friend from Finland. While visiting Scandinavian islands last summer, she found these heart ornaments that were actually made by a cousin of hers. Because hearts are a common Finnish decorative element, she wanted to share these at our exchange.
This sweet little Hershey Kiss mouse was presented by a dear friend who claims she hasn’t a crafty bone in her body. They turned out so sweet, though, and were gladly received by all. She also, as a “condolence prize” shared a favorite Christmas recipe.
Our next ornament was made by a self-professed “rock nut”. She loves collecting rocks, and makes jewelry and sculpture with them. All the tiny rocks comprising this birdhouse are from Lake Superior. The pinecone roof and grapevine wreath were made from sources in her back yard. This is a bona fide Michigan treasure, and was so amazing to receive.
This star was created by a friend who first made various wire ornaments while serving as the Faith in God leader for our girls. So fun to make, and each star was beautifully unique.
These trees were made by a woman who had previously made a lot of stained glass windows. She has a glass grinder and a relative with a kiln, where she could “slump” the beads. The copper wire is my favorite part – I love the thick twists and turns she formed.
This ornament was made by cutting “The Living Christ” into strips, rolling, and placing inside a glass ball. It is fun to see bits and pieces of this precious document while turning the ball.
This ornament is so fun – a melted snowman, including stick arms, button eyes, coal mouth, carrot nose, top hat and plaid scarf. Finding miniature carrots and getting the hat to fit inside the small ball opening was a comedy of errors, but the finished ornament is darling.
This beautiful spider ornament was shared along with the Legend of the Christmas Spider. I love how this spider looks and feels in the hand, and the message is sweet as well.
These cinnamon applesauce stars were shared by a friend, who explained how special they were to her as a child. She thought her mother was magical, the way she made these ornaments out of a few cupboard ingredients. They smell wonderful.
This little angel was made by a friend who was inspired by her angel-loving daughter. As a toddler, this little girl would take the angels from the tree and hide them under her pillow. The angel was often missing from the nativity, and could be found being loved and played with by this daughter. They look forward to seeing the angels every Christmas, and I love being reminded of this sweet girl with her mother’s ornament.
I was last to share my shores of Galilee ornament. I found some ring boxes that the ornaments just barely fit in, and printed the verse about being “like the man who walked the shores of Galilee” on sticker paper, which I placed on the lid of the box. This way the tiny ornament was protected, and the verse wouldn’t be misplaced.
I am already looking forward to next year’s exchange. It will be incredible to hear more of these ladies’ stories and to to bring home another dozen ornament treasures.