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A holiday tradition for the whole year

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Seeking elusive tree ornaments

When Alfs was a tiny baby, I established a holiday tradition that has come to bite me in the backside. Seriously. I end up thinking about it all year long, wondering if I'll still be able to make it happen this year.

Seeking elusive tree ornaments

It started innocently enough. Just before Alfs' first Christmas, I was in a gift shop near where we lived and saw an adorable ornament for the tree for him. It was a rabbit. It seemed so appropriate as I liked to call Alfs my "Easter Bunny Baby" since he was born Easter week. I purchased it and declared I'd get him a new rabbit ornament every year.

Many people buy Christmas ornaments for their kids every year. But do you know how hard it is to find rabbit ornaments? Since rabbits are more closely associated with a spring holiday, there aren't many of them in November and December.

Lucky at first

The next couple of years, I got lucky. I was able to find rabbit ornaments with only a minimum of fuss. I got overly confident. Then Woody was born and since I'd taken to calling him Sweet Pea, and I'd happened to find a pea pod ornament that first year, I figured pea pods would be Woody's thing.

Then the next year, I had an absolute miserable time finding either a rabbit or a pea pod. In the end, I found the rabbit ornament after days and days of searching - and just two days before Christmas. I've never seen a pea pod ornament again, so switched Woody's theme to cows (as he was my "milk monster") on Christmas Eve. Either that, or no ornament at all for him that year.

A year long search

From that point on, I learned I needed to keep any eye out year round for rabbit and cow ornaments. While cows aren't particularly rare, rabbits continue to be. Add in giraffes for Sunshine, and not only is it a veritable zoo on the Christmas tree itself, it feels like I belong in a zoo with the effort I make to find these ornaments!

It's only because of my own stubbornness that I keep going on this. I don't want ornaments to get the better of me! I also think about how fun it will be to give the kids their collected ornaments on a single theme when they go off on their own. They will either love them or it will send them to therapy! ("What was with my mom and those darn bunnies!")

My search for these ornaments has led me into some fun little shops, however. Wherever we are on vacation, I look for Christmas shops and hope to find at least one of that year's set of ornaments. I've learned that if a shop has more than one rabbit ornament, buy more than one as I never know when I'll find another! Some years giraffes are just as difficult to locate as rabbits, though I usually can find a cow without too much stress.

When the kids go off into the world with their carefully (and stubbornly) acquired ornaments, the tree will be almost bare. Maybe I need to come up with another ornament theme and start collecting for that time, though it's years away. What do you think of ornaments with llamas? There are plenty of those around, aren't there?

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