For many families, decorating the Christmas tree is not just hanging ornaments — for some it’s a chance to relive special moments, like Baby’s First Christmas, a handmade reindeer out of a clothespin or a special counted cross-stitched wreath made by Grandma.
Karen Westerman, of Chancellor, has been hand-making ornaments for her grandchildren since 1991. She does a counted cross-stitch Christmas ornament every year for each grandchild until they are 21. With eight grandchildren that means she’ll have made 168 ornaments.
She recalled how it began with her first grand-child. She said, “When Sara was born I made one for her first Christmas and then I decided to do one every year until they turn 21.”
Her grandchildren range in age from 15 to 25 now, so it’s winding down she said. Karen and her husband, Darrel, live on farm south of Chancellor. On their Christmas tree hangs this year’s ornaments — patiently waiting for the grandkids to come and pick them up on Christmas Day. That’s part of the tradition, too.
Karen said, “The ornaments hang on our tree until Christmas Day, and then they take them home with them.
The ornaments feature different Christmas designs — a stocking, a wreath, tree or Santa, but all 21 ornaments in the set are different. Karen said she marks the year on the back. She said her daughter has five children of her own so a lot of Karen’s hand-made ornaments hang on their tree. She said, “It’s a keepsake tree.”