Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A New Christmas Tree Ornament Tradition

I started a new Christmas tree tradition this year.  I purchased an ornament on each of our fun field trips.  I wanted something to remind us of what we enjoyed about each place but I didn't want to clutter the front of my refrigerator.

So a new tradition was born!  Let me share with you a few of the fun places we visited this year.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum entertained us on THREE separate occasions!  I briefly shared about our first trip last fall.  The Museum is definitely worth a visit.  You see 5 REAL whale skeletons, climb aboard a scale-model whaling ship and learn about whaling.  (If you live in RI, the Cranston library has FREE passes!!)

The New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park is located a short walk down the street.  They have a junior ranger program with an excellent booklet and enthusiastic park rangers.

In May we visited the Washington, DC area.  We toured Mt. Vernon, the Space Museum and walked the National Mall.  As a history buff, my favorite stop on our trip was Mount Vernon but my favorite picture from our trip is of my family on the Mall.

This picture is a 2 for 1.  The egg shaped ornament is from Minute Man National Historical Park.  We learned about the beginning of the American Revolution and the ride of Paul Revere (bonus point: Did Revere complete his ride?).  They also have a junior ranger program for those interested.

The pewter ornament on the right is from Slater Mill.  We learned about the birth of the American Industrial Revolution, saw a working water wheel, and watched cotton turn to thread.

This ship-in-a-bottle represents the Mayflower II, a replica of the Pilgrim's ship to America.  The life-sized boat is docked in Plymouth, Massachusetts and is available for tours.  VERY cool field trip for the week before Thanksgiving!

My favorite ornament this year is the Pilgrim lady and her child.  We ALL enjoyed our trip to Plimoth Plantation the week before Thanksgiving.  Seeing life-sized replicas of the Pilgrims homes inspired my children.  Our favorite part of the trip was watching a blacksmith hammer metal into nails.  VERY cool!

I am so glad I collected ornaments from our field trips this year.  Looking at them on our tree adds to our memories and the specialness of our holiday!

Do you collect ornaments from you vacations, field trips or outings?  If so, what is your favorite one?


Amy said...

Fun tradition! If you keep it up you might need more than one tree! :) Wow! Great field trips!

Bonus point: No, he didn't complete his ride...right?

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Amy, our little table top tree is quite full this year. In fact I left over half of our ornaments in the box! I'd love to have 3 trees - a Jesus tree with nativity related ornaments, a Memory tree - with our field trip ornaments, and kids tree - with ornaments my kids made.

You are correct. Revere never finished his ride but another man did. (Is it cheating that you have a Paul Revere book AND have been to the park?) :D

stephanie @ Simple Things said...

We've done that as well (when Mama remembers! Kicking myself that I didn't think of it for our Thanksgiving this year, but will give myself grace with a new baby and recent outpatient surgery). : )

My favorite is the one that my husband and I got on our honeymoon at Yellowstone National Park, but am looking forward to adding more over the years. : )

Ann said...

What a fun idea!! We always bought patches when I was growing up. I used to have a denim bag covered in them. I think ornaments would be much more durable, though!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Stephanie, you get lots and lots of grace this year!!

Ann, I've seen the patches and think that would be fun. I thought about those but didn't know what to do with them. Ornaments won't clutter my house all year and will be enjoyed each year.

Carrie said...

THAT is a completely awesome idea! I'll sock that thought away for later when we're old enough to go on field trips and me thinks we're just going to have to do something like this.

That's a great thought! Thanks for sharing it! (And dare I say, "Welcome back?!" Or it is too soon to say!? I hold out with hope!)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Carrie, I think your guys might even be old enough to do this now. Maybe just with the places that are really special - like the aquarium. Or even just an ornament representing an obsession or interest for each child from this year.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

What a great idea. I have thought about doing this, but have never followed through. I do have an ornament from NYC (it is a jingle bell that looks like an apple). And I do have one for Disneyworld (but since our tree is mostly Disney ornaments, I am not sure that one counts).

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Dawn, it's never too late to start a new tradition. Your Disney tree is a fun idea, too.

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