It wouldn’t be Christ­mas with­out… Favourite sen­ti­men­tal trea­sures

They’re not al­ways the most, ahem, taste­ful or­na­ments – but from the vin­tage an­gel to a hand-knit­ted prawn, you and your fam­ily know Christ­mas only re­ally be­gins when these spe­cial trea­sures ap­pear…

Woman & Home - - In This Issue... - w&h

They’re tucked away in the at­tic or the back of a cup­board for most of the year, but noth­ing puts you in a fes­tive mood bet­ter than pulling out your old dec­o­ra­tions, which carry so many spe­cial mem­o­ries and as­so­ci­a­tions. and while they may not look like much to any­one else, once they’re on dis­play, it means christ­mas is com­ing…

The Santa Petrushka nest­ing dolls anne Wilkin­son, cam­bridgeshire

clam­ber­ing down the steps from the loft, christ­mas box in hand, al­ways marked the be­gin­ning of the fes­tiv­i­ties. my three daugh­ters, emily, Beth and alice, would be stand­ing ea­gerly at the bot­tom of the lad­der. i’d barely reach the bot­tom step be­fore they’d started un­pack­ing the gar­lands and baubles, squab­bling over the “best jobs” (none of them liked string­ing up the christ­mas cards). the most sought-after job was un­pack­ing the santa claus nest­ing dolls – 10 cheer­ful Fa­ther christ­mases, in­tri­cately painted and ab­so­lutely iden­ti­cal but each one a lit­tle bit tinier than the one be­fore it. gifted to me by my mother-in-law who bought it on a trip to switzer­land, it al­ways baf­fled me how many hours of fun it pro­vided. the girls would stash their favourite Qual­ity streets in­side the empty dolls, pack them up then un­pack them and ar­range them in height or­der. now aged 30, 28 and 26, there’s less squab­bling over the hon­our of un­pack­ing the san­tas, but i never for­get to ar­range them, in height or­der, on the man­tel­piece.

The knit­ted prawn david dowd­ing, tun­bridge Wells

we bought these hand-knit­ted dec­o­ra­tions from a lo­cal christ­mas mar­ket in tun­bridge wells. the first we ac­quired was the christ­mas prawn, and then last year we added the seag­ull to the col­lec­tion. we fell in love with them as they’re the com­plete an­tithe­sis of our nor­mal taste, but as we have such a mis­matched col­lec­tion of baubles, they ac­tu­ally fit in very well.

‘The girls stashed Qual­ity Streets in­side the dolls’

‘They’re the an­tithe­sis of our nor­mal taste’

The Christ­mas crib is­abel pearce, St mawes, corn­wall

as a child, one of the high­lights of christ­mas was get­ting out the crib. Un­wrap­ping each fig­ure was part of the thrill – you never knew who you were go­ing to get. the baby Je­sus lay in a manger with real straw, but the high­light was the gold-winged an­gel, who was hooked up to the roof of the sta­ble. we used to fly her around the room. al­though it’s a bit chipped and worse for wear, it takes me back to my child­hood – and this year my first grand­child, two-yearold Pene­lope, will help me set it up.

The Santa pa­per hat Sharon Sweeney, lon­don

this is the pa­per hat my son Zachary, now 24, wore at his school nurs­ery na­tiv­ity play in 1997. it al­ways goes on the christ­mas tree, even though it’s now some­what tat­tered from years of liv­ing in the christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions box. it al­ways raises a sigh and a smile as we cast our minds back to those days and all the lovely chil­dren and teach­ers at lyn­d­hurst nurs­ery in cam­ber­well, south­east lon­don.

The an­gel tree-top­per Sheila Whit­taker, cheshire

my mum bought this an­gel in 1951 from wool­worths (three years be­fore i was born) and it’s been used ev­ery sin­gle christ­mas since. even though she’s a bit old and ragged, it would seem dis­loyal to cast her aside. i’ll never part with her.

The fam­ily of bears anne burns, hert­ford­shire

we’d never be with­out our fam­ily of wooden christ­mas bears, which we’ve had for 15 years. the small­est are so light you can fit them pretty much any­where, and i ar­range some of them do­ing cart­wheels on the man­tel­piece. my son took them to dec­o­rate his bed­room for a few years, but this year they’ll be back in the sit­ting room be­cause we all love them.

The book of car­ols clare an­der­son, lon­don

in our house, christ­mas wouldn’t be christ­mas with­out singing car­ols round the pi­ano. this song­book has been in our fam­ily for many years and each fes­tive sea­son it gets pulled out from the pi­ano stool again. rous­ing favourites in­clude The First Noel, God Rest You Merry, Gentle­men and Hark! The Her­ald An­gels Sing.

The “She Said Yes!” bauble he­lena cartwright, Sur­rey

On a crisp new york day just a week be­fore christ­mas 2016, my boyfriend got down on one knee in the mid­dle of cen­tral Park, and asked me to marry him. Of course, i said yes, and in a happy daze, we wan­dered back through Bryant Park to our ho­tel. On the way i spot­ted this tacky, yet ir­re­sistible, dec­o­ra­tion, and had it per­son­alised straight away. Back home, i hung it on our christ­mas tree, and it’s had pride of place on the tree ever since. ev­ery time i see it, it takes me back to new york and that mag­i­cal day.

‘You never knew who you were go­ing to get’

‘He wore it at his school na­tiv­ity play’

‘It would seem dis­loyal to cast her aside’

‘I ar­range them do­ing cart­wheels’

‘Each sea­son it gets pulled out of the pi­ano stool’

‘I had it per­son­alised straight away’

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