Tree Topper- A Cherished Keepsake

Jillian here. Happy December. I thought I’d share about my tree topper today since I don’t have much else to say exciting — been having some stress at the day job and it’s time to put that aside and talk about something less legally intense. 🙂

In the fall of 1986, I was twenty-five and pregnant with my first child and had been a lawyer for a bit over two years. Back then, salaries weren’t that great. A beginning lawyer made from $18,000-$20,000 a year (which translates to around $43,000- 47,000.00 now with inflation). I had just started a new job with a firm (had previously done overflow work from another lawyer and did okay with that financially, but since I was pregnant, I wanted a more steady salary and benefits). I was making $24,000.00 a year there (about $58,000.00 in today’s money. I’m telling you all this to say that $35.00 for a tree topper was a lot of money in that time ($88.00 with inflation). 🙂

There was a cute shop down the street from the law firm where I worked that sold a variety of items. It’s now a lamp and lighting showroom, but back then, they carried lots of knick-knacks, household furnishings, soft goods and, at the holiday season, it was a wonderland of goodies.

In the first years of our marriage, we had an el-cheapo topper that was a circle with lights and shiny greenery around them. It flashed on and off and was a fun thing on our tree. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. 🙂

One day, on my lunch hour, I walked around this store and found this lovely Father Christmas who absolutely spoke to me. He looked nothing like our traditional Coca-Cola Santa Claus here in the USA, but he was beautiful and absolutely stole my heart. He’s wearing a silk coat with fur attached and his face, beard, and hands are beautiful porcelain. The toys in his pack are lovely, too–even a little Christmas tree peeking out. I fell in love at first sight. But he was $35.00. It seemed like too much to pay at the time, so I left.

But he was still speaking to me. He was calling my name down the highway and into my office… he was relentless…. so, there was nothing I could do. I had to go back the next day to buy him. He was happy, I was happy, and even the baby I was carrying seemed to approve. 🙂

Now, 35 years later, I still relish getting him out of the Christmas box every year and getting him on the tree. He still makes my heart happy–and at $1.00 per year net cost (so far), he’s been a great investment, right?

10 responses to “Tree Topper- A Cherished Keepsake

  1. He’s beautiful. Not the commercialized Santa at all and I can see why he called to you. Good for you, spending the money. I found a brass sculpture (little girl’s arms around a horse’s neck) I walked by the store and stared at it for days (back in my 20’s when all my money went to put food on the table.) I didn’t buy it and I still think about that statue. So good for you!

    • Awww.  I am sorry about the statue. It sounds lovely.  I’m so glad I spent the money, too- because, like you, I’d have still been thinking about him.  🙂  He really is lovely and untraditional for sure. 

  2. Beautiful – definitely worth that investment 🙂

  3. Beautiful. I was just talking to my Granddaughter the other day about my traditional tree. I don’t do theme ones or even color coordinated ones. Most of my ornaments have a story. When Jack and I traveled I would pick up an ornament here and there. I have one from Russia, China and of course ones people have given me. There are a lot of memories that surface as I decorate each year.

    When the grandkids came along Jack and I bought them an ornament every year until they reached 18. That gave them a dozen and half ornaments to start their trees. I love putting those up while I had them. Each had a babies first Christmas.

    I love your tree topper. And even more the memories he brings you each year. The ultimate Christmas Gift. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Thanks Lavada.  We also have ornaments that celebrate places we’ve been and children. Lots of Baby’s firsts and yearly ones. My son didn’t take his with him when he married, so I am still enjoying them. I love an eclectic, personalized tree.  So much fun — the theme ones are pretty, but give me one that the love grew organically every time.  I’m glad yours is the same.  Makes it very special.  Thanks for loving my tree like I do!  

  4. Oh I love him. What a lovely thing to put on top of the tree. And can full well understand how much he called to you. Much treasured. A great post, Jillian. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. I love him, too, Jillian. He’s beautiful. It’s not often in my experience that something speaks to our hearts and souls like he obviously did to yours. It was meant to be that you saw him in that shop. Well done on following your heart because he’s given you so much pleasure over the years. Thanks for the timely reminder to follow our hearts.

    • Aww. that is sweet- and yes, always follow your heart- even if you try not to, it will persist until you do. This guy has become an integral part of my family’s holiday!

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