A Jewish Girl’s Favorite Christmas Ornaments

Growing up Jewish we never had a Christmas tree. (Well, one time my mom bought me this tiny little foot-tall one and we got some janky ornaments, but it didn’t really count. And she told me to not tell my grandma haha.) I remember going to friends’ houses and STARING at their tree. I loved the lights, the tree topper (whether it was an angel or a star) and the story behind every little ornament. 

When Dave and I met it was right around Christmastime and we actually celebrated our first Christmas together a mere two weeks dating by having a Jewish Christmas. His family had celebrated on Christmas Eve that year and so he came over and we went to a movie and had Chinese food (I think we actually went to Uno’s but the usual Jewish Christmas fare is Chinese food.) 

Fast forward two years and we had our first apartment together and therefore our first tree. I was insistent, he could have cared less. (#aetheist). We had very few ornaments to start with, mainly a box of ornaments that were his from childhood. 

Since then we’ve amassed our own collection of ornaments and we try to only buy ones that have meaning to us, mainly from when we travel. We used to get one for each other and then one for our family every year but have slowly paired down on those to focus on the extra special memories that we love to unwrap each year and to build up a collection for Sadie for when she’s got her own tree as well. Here are some of my favorites:  

Family/Sentimental Ornaments:

When we had our first tree together I demanded that Dave get me one with my name and the year on it because he had all these ornaments dated from when he was a kid and I (obviously) had none. So he bought this cute little penguin ornament and had a family friend write my name and the year on it. <3 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

This Thomas Kinkaid Santa ornament Dave’s grandmother gave him when we were first dating. At that time he didn’t have a tree in his apartment but I made him hang onto it. She sadly passed away before our wedding but having the ornament on our tree is a sweet reminder of what a lovely woman she was. 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We actually just got this pine cone angel from Dave’s house when his sister realized it was his – he made it in boy scouts! Of course I took it home. 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

The Peanuts Lucy and Schroeder ornament I found for Dave on eBay as one of our first ornaments together. I thought it was perfect as he’s a musician, his first instrument was the piano and he used to LOVE the Peanuts cartoons as a kid. (And there’s a light connector in the back – if you attach it to a light on your tree it plays music!)

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

This is one of two baby ornaments we have for Dave. How sweet, right? They certainly don’t make them like this anymore. 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

This another one of my favorite Dave ornaments and he may kill me for posting it but I loooooooooooooove it. There will never be a year when I don’t put this one on the tree!

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

My mom got this ornament for us for our first married Christmas together. (She got us a Hanukkah ornament too!)

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

And Dave’s mom got Sadie this Baby’s First Ornament from a shop in Williamsburg, VA. I think it’s hand-crafted pewter. It’s a nice memory of that first vacation with Sadie and our family and her first Christmas. 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

This one we’re adding to the tree this year to commemorate Sadie starting karate and getting her yellow belt! (But don’t tell her – she is getting it on Christmas Eve!) It’s from a fabulous shop on Etsy called ChristmasGal. She got every bit of personalization I wanted and the ornament technically comes with the pants too but I had her remove them to make the ornament smaller (our tree isn’t very big!) And I’m not sure you can see it but ornament hook is a mini shirt hanger which I think is such an adorable touch!

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

I also love the handmade ornaments we have like this one that Sadie’s daycare made for us when she was a baby! 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

And this one that I made with her with her little handprint! 🙁 Where did my baby go? She gets a kick out of seeing how much bigger her hand is each year. And then I cry. 😉

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

When we did get a family ornament each year we loved going to the mall and into one of those personalized pop-up kiosks. Our first year as a family we got this one. Maybe if we wind up having another kid we’ll do it again but for now we’ve stopped with those. 

Sentimental Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

Travel Ornaments:

The Disney ornament we picked up at Disney Springs during our trip this past April. Yes – went to Disney and I did not blog about it! And I will not blog about it! We had a fabulous time and now have this adorable ornament to commemorate our trip and remember all the fun we had. 

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We also picked up this ornament this summer when we went upstate for a weekend. Dave realized how close we were to Niagara Falls and neither of us had been so we grabbed my parents and Sadie and headed up. It was amazing and since we rode Maid of the Mist we now have the ornament to remember it by. 

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

I usually don’t buy ornaments when I travel alone for work but I couldn’t resist this one when I was in Budapest. They are known for the hand painted eggs and I fell in love when I found this Santa ornament! 

Dave and I really started collecting travel ornaments on our honeymoon when we were lucky enough to go to Europe for just over two weeks. We didn’t get every city we visited but did up some special ones from Amsterdam and Paris.

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com
Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

One of our favorite trips has been to Greece – I had a work trip there and Dave and Sadie flew out at the end of my event and we spent a great few days in Athens. We made sure to snag an ornament the moment we found one (which is a little hard in summer!) 

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We’ve also been to New Orleans for my cousin’s wedding…

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

…and Arizona for another cousin’s wedding where we took a day trip out to Sedona when we were out there. This little Christmas cactus makes me so happy! I don’t know what it is about it but its one of my absolute favorites. 

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

On one of our last summer vacations with Dave’s family we picked up this one to commemorate our week in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

And this adorable one is from a weekend trip Dave and I made to Breckenridge, CO. He’s the bear, I’m the bunny and Sadie gets mad because she isn’t represented since we left her home with family!

Travel Ornaments | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

It seems like almost all of our ornaments have special meaning but that’s what I want our tree to be about. I love seeing ornately decorated trees that look like they could be in a storefront window, but I really love the ones filled with memories and mismatched ornaments more. 

I love having our tree lit up at night! 

Christmas Tree | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

If you have a tree, what is your decorating style? And your favorite ornament? 

Comments

  1. I sometimes think about how I’d decorate a tree if I had one. Maybe I should get ornaments and put them on something else, lol.

  2. I love love love your wedding ornament! It seems that everyone has posted a wedding ornament on their tree as one of their favorites!

  3. I accidentally left all my childhood Christmas ornaments at my ex’s house when I moved out… I will never forgive myself for losing all of them. I love this look at all of your family’s most beloved ornaments!

  4. My husband has the same baby ornament but from 1978. How cool is that. I love the travel ornaments. I do the same thing when I travel abroad now.

  5. I love your ornament post! What a great collection you have!

  6. I love this post and your ornament collection!

  7. I love that you celebrate the holidays with a tree now. I love the tree and ornaments!

  8. I’m just like you and since I never had a tree growing up, I secretly love having one now. I have so much fun trying to find the perfect kid ornaments each year. And I’m pretty sure my husband’s first Christmas ornament is just like Dave’s.
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  1. […] I blogged in full Christmas mode this week, sharing what Apple our Elf on the Shelf gets herself into and also our most cherished Christmas ornaments. […]

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