We have a fifteen year old at home who eventually will move out and set up her own Christmas tree in her own home. My own tree has several ornaments I got on trips or as gifts from dear friends, and they're all part of my own heirloom Christmas tree ornaments. Even the plastic Santa selling ice cream cones that I got on a road trip to Florida is one of my heirlooms, not because of the quality, but because of the memories surrounding it.
When my kiddo was a teeny baby, I knew she would need some of her own ornaments when she set up her very first Christmas tree (she can't have my plastic ice cream selling Santa, it's MINE), and so we started a cherished family tradition that she loves.
Here's a fun Frugal Nesting tip you can use to start a family tradition with any little ones in your family: start a collection of future Christmas or holiday heirlooms for your children to have when they set up their own homes.
A pelican - from when her dad lived and worked 90 miles from home (boy did we miss him!) right on the beach at a restaurant called The Pelican Pub. We loved visiting him and climbing the big 300 foot tall sand dune just yards from the pub.
A sewing machine - when she was in third grade, her class sewed aprons as a class project. She was especially proud of hers and I still wear it when making cookies.
A truck - a few summers ago she visited G-ma and G-pa on the farm in Wisconsin. She was only 10 but that summer she learned how to drive the old farm truck. (In the field.) Later, when she returned home, she offered to drive my car for me, since she already knew how to drive. Thank goodness logic prevailed and she understood "no license-no driving."
When she started playing the cello in orchestra my sister Tina came to the rescue with a cello ornament. G-ma Donna also sent a music stand ornament the same year.
The past few years things have changed a little with Christmas. She approaches me and asks, "Are you giving me another ornament this year?"
I told her, "Yes, of course Santa will give you another one."
She raised one eyebrow. (I wish I could do that!) "Yeah, whatever."
Before she could stick her ipod headphones back into her ears I quickly asked, "Do you want to pick one out or be surprised?"
She smiled. "I want to be surprised. I love the ornaments."