Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – The Ornaments of New Orleans Christmas Tree

Continuing my post for the GeneaBlogger's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories,today’s writing prompt for the Advent Calendar is Christmas Tree Ornaments:  Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

We have many special ornaments collected through the years:  my daughter’s laminated handprint, a tiny cruise ship from our 25th anniversary, the polymer likeness of my son on a boogie board, my first-born’s photo surrounded by 20-year old candies glued to a paper plate, and many, many others.  Each ornament has a story, and each story is brought to mind every year when they are unpacked and hung on our tree.

But there is another story that has no ornaments, yet those ornaments were very special.
In 1965 my dad received orders for Viet Nam while our family was living on base in Quantico.  After we said goodbye to our relatives we loaded up our station wagon and left Virginia at the start of the Christmas holiday season in route for California.  Our travel plan included a Christmas Eve stop-over at a Holiday Inn in New Orleans.

Room at the Holiday Inn, ca. late 1960's
We set up a small Christmas tree on a side table in our hotel room and we all worked together to decorated it with tiny trinkets, paper snowflakes, gum wrapper chains and foil ornaments.  It was a beautiful little tree that brought the spirit of Christmas to our motel room.  Even though the ornaments were cheap and temporary, I will always remember that wonderful little tree and those very special ornaments.

It was a memorable Christmas and was the last time our family traveled across the country because Dad would retire after his tour in Viet Nam and we would settle in California for good.
©2011 – Frank’s Daughter All Rights Reserved


  1. You were scaring me -- I was afraid this was going to have a sad ending. Whew! I can't imagine spending Christmas Eve in a motel room, but your mom made it an event to remember.

  2. Sorry Wendy, I didn't mean for it to be scary. It did mark, however, a change in how we spent Christmas after that - without the company of our Virginia and Massachusetts relatives.