Christmas Ornaments

"Mystery Machine" Hallmark Ornament
"Mystery Machine" Hallmark Ornament

Three generations ago my family fled Germany to America. In fear of persecution, they rushed to the “land of the free” for a better life. Years later, my family migrated to the Southwest side of the nation. Many of my family's traditions were lost after their departure, but my Mom still grasped onto one making it her own– putting new ornaments on the tree every holiday. For as long as my memory can reach, my Mother would take my sisters and me shopping for a new ‘Hallmark’ ornament every year. We would pick one that symbolized what we did that year or a current obsession. My first ornament was Scooby Doo, my favorite childhood show. A beautiful ceramic “Mystery Machine” with each character painted on the window. It was held by a silk white ribbon, which I later changed to a glittery teal lace ribbon. There was a four-year period when my family experienced financial hardship, but my Mother set aside money to keep our tradition. At 13, I learned this tradition came from my Grandfather. When my Mother was 10, her father was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite money being tight, her parents would take her and her siblings to get ornaments every year- she wanted to do the same for her children. She stayed devoted to her wish. Every December, when I unbox the ornaments I am filled with hundreds of bittersweet emotions. I reflect on how an object that seems so insignificant holds a million stories. My family risked it all to come to America keeping the future generations in mind.

Place(s): Germany, United States of America

– Sydnie Osburn

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more