Tag Archives: Christmas. Traditons

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?

Fave Festive Ad

For the last few years, I’ve always posted my favorite festive TV advert as my December blog post. The accolade usually goes to John Lewis, a large department store here in the UK and known for its great Christmas ads, but this year I was underwhelmed. IMO there wasn’t much to choose from amongst the other superstore offerings.

There was one ad that stood out for me, and although it isn’t from the big guns it is very close to my heart. We puppy-walked and fostered for Guide Dogs for the Blind for several years and continue to support them. They do really amazing work, and the training they do with the dogs is truly inspirational.

Untitled designVivvy, our own gorgeous girl came to us as a withdrawn puppy. We had fostered her and had fallen totally in love with her. During her assessment, they found she was too jumpy to be a guide dog, although in our opinion she is certainly smart enough! It didn’t take much for us to put our hands up and adopt her.


So in the spirit of tradition, here’s my 2019 favorite TV Christmas advert:

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020!

Christmas Eve eve

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of walking down memory lane lately. I’m not sure why I’m in such a reflective mood, but it’s not a bad thing. I love visiting with memories, especially the good ones. Like Christmas.

I’ve probably told this story before, but I’m still going to talk about it again. As one of five children living in a house with only ONE bathroom (yes, when I was little, houses only had one), getting ready for anything was…interesting. And Christmas was no exception.

Laurie young

A young Laurie after the pin curls.

The night before, my sisters and I got baths, then Mom would pin curl our hair while our younger brothers got their baths. The next morning, we’d get all dressed up and go to 8AM mass. After mass, we’d come home and cook a BIG breakfast.

You’d think, then, we could open gifts. Nosiree. We had to clean up from breakfast first. Put the food away, do the dishes (wash AND dry) and have everything in its place. Then, and only then, did we get to open gifts.

It was agonizing at the time. And now it’s one of my fondest memories growing up. I got a lot of mileage out of it, too. My kids didn’t hear the “I had to walk 5 miles to school, in the snow, with no shoes, uphill both ways” story growing up. They heard the “I had to wait until everything was done Christmas morning to open my gifts” story. And, since there was a certain amount of “waiting” in their young lives, I’m pretty sure their kids are stuck with the same hardship story. Lol.

Ahhh, aren’t traditions wonderful? 🙂

What about you? Do you open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Do you have fond childhood memories you’d like to share? We love hearing about traditions and other folks stories.

And, whether you celebrate this Christmas or catch a new movie (since theaters are about the only thing open on Christmas Day), I hope your day is filled with food, family and friends, and fun.

Merry Christmas, everyone!