My Oma was an avid collector. It was just in her nature and she didn’t fight it. After she passed away, it was almost overwhelming dealing with all of the stuff. Thousands of swizzle sticks and postcards, and five gallon buckets in a row, filled to the brim with seashells collected on the North Carolina shore over the years. She collected cookbooks, Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates, campaign buttons, silver dollars and dimes, souvenir spoons, alabaster fruit, Stieff Repousse silverware and serving pieces, and Hummels. That list maybe scratches the surface.
She also collected Wallace Sleigh Bells.
She bought one every year from the time they started making them in 1971. As we were sorting through her attic, we came across the sleigh bells and divided them between her children and grandchildren, so I brought home four of them. I selected my birth year, Jeff’s birth year, and two random years from the 1980’s. I hung them on my tree each year and didn’t think of them much beyond liking them.
Then, some delightfully old fashioned woman, gave me one as a gift marking my oldest son’s first Christmas. It is the bell from his birth year and has his initials engraved in it. And she gave me another one for my youngest son’s first Christmas.
These gifts made me realize how much I love them. They have a classically simple design and the prettiest ring.
So, the following year, I added the newest Wallace sleigh bell to my Christmas list to continue to grow my small collection and I’ve been getting one every year since.
I don’t feel like I have to have them all, but it is fun to hunt for them and to watch the collection grow on my tree each year. One day, I’ll have a tree full of sleigh bells.
(As an aside, do you realize how hard it is to photograph a very reflective silver bell? You can see my plaid jammie pants in just about every shot!)
Anyway, I’m not very sentimental when it comes to things, but these ornaments are a connection to my Oma and I love that I’m carrying on her tradition.
I think she would’ve liked that.
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