Favorite Christmas Ornaments

handmade christmas train

Granny and Pap’s Christmas Train

The girls have been sharing their favorite Christmas decorations in a series of posts on The Pressley Girls Instagram and Facebook page.

Their trip down memory lane has made me take a closer look at some of the decorations we use every year.

Granny was always making something and sometimes she’d convince Pap to help her. One year they made Christmas trains. Granny sold them for $20, but mostly she gave them away to friends and family.

santa clause and present on wood board

santa clause and sleigh on wood board

Always wanting to be in the middle of whatever Pap and Granny were doing I wanted to make something while they were building the trains.

Pap helped me sand and stain the little pieces of wood and Granny helped me pick out the things to glue on them.

Even though most of the goodies that were in the train cars is missing and the Santas are looking a little worn, all these years later they are still giving us Christmas cheer.


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  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Beautiful Tipper. Hand made has way more meaning. Touching. Every yr. we always get a new ornament and put on the tree. This yr, i think i got 2 or 3 lol I jumbled the gun a bit.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    December 17, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    My most precious ornament is my little angel that was given to me at Christmas service when I was 2-years-old. She is made out of paper and has the clothing and hair style of the early 1950s (1955 to be exact). She has little white feathers glued to her (which came from someone’s pillow I’m sure). A few stubbornly hang on. She has her very own little box that she gets lovingly put into and pulled out of every year. Her little neck has been bent so many times, I fear that it will tear someday, so this year I think I’ll pull out the Elmer’s and cut a toothpick to help shore it up. Love that sweet, little angel.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    We have several trains in the attic; electric, battery powered, wind up and one that requires push power. There was a time when we would have 5-6 set up and running. Now with no little ones around and the difficulty in climbing the ladder we don’t usually get anything set up. We have a clump of fake mistletoe from our first Christmas 55 years ago that we don’t put away. It hangs near the dining room now and has hung somewhere in our homes most if not all of those 55 years.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 17, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Many years ago, John Glen, a neighbor who lives about a mile up Granny Squirrel, came to my shop and wanted a few fixtures made. I made them for him and didn’t charge him anything, so he asked for the names of my Grand Children. (Annabelle hadn’t been born yet, but I still had five.) Traci was the first, then Alechia, then the twins named Keva and Kaysha from my youngest daughter, Jennifer. My other daughter, Lauralea married Steve and they lived in Seattle, Wa. for about 5 years. At the time Ellie was the only girl of Laura, so John Glen made all girls a train, spelling out each of their names. (That was the first time I met John.) He was a Marine in the Armed Forces and him and his wife had something to do with Toys for Tots at Murphy. He and his wife had a Wood Lathe, and she painted C H E R O K E E T O O L & M O L D complete with a Cabbose painted Red and an Engine with Hood Ornaments in Silver so the Black Engine would match all them many wheels.

    My uncle, Tommy Higdon married Toots, my Aunt. He had a Wood Lathe too, and he fixed the sexyest little Tracks I ever seen, with all them crossties painted Black.

    I guess Trains still run in my Family. …Ken Someday Annabelle will have a Train.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    December 17, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Handmade Ornaments and Gifts are the most treasured there are. I remember one year we were having a fairly rough time, Van Rault had moved their manufacturing to Puerto Rico and Dad was laid off when they closed the Bryson City plant. Dad made me a Bi-Plane as a gift out of pieces of wood that we had laying around, he did a fantastic job and I flew the wings off that plane, sadly it was burned when our Farmhouse was burned but it still flies high in my memory, possibly flying over some of Granny and Pap’s Christmas Trains.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Among my treasured possessions are all of my children’s hand-made ornaments (faded, torn, falling apart) and my folks’ ornaments from the ’40s. Mother told stories of saving tiny pieces of tin foil to make ornaments when she was little, as well as of the year their tree, adorned with real candles, caught fire.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 11:17 am

    The best part of decorating for Christmas is getting out the ornaments and decorations that bring back cherished memories.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    December 17, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I love the Christmas ornaments that have memories attached. I have a little tree from my childhood and I hang my children’s baby shoes on the tree. We have gotten ornaments for children and grandchildren each year as well. This year we get to add a great granddaughter too!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Aw, that is so sweet! It is so wonderful to hold things in our hands that our dear parents made or held. Somehow, it helps to build a bridge between us and them.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 10:04 am

    If they are the cutest decorations!

  • Reply
    Sallie, “The Apple Doll Lady”
    December 17, 2019 at 9:55 am

    We had a house fire a month after a move, the summer before our boys started kindergarten and second grade. Most things in the attic were heavily damaged and I forgot to check the box of ornaments, many the boys made in day care and bible school. After the repairmen cleaned out the attic I found a couple of blackened ornaments in the driveway. One was a small fabric wreath picture frame and another was a pretty tatted wreath I had bought at a craft fair. Although they are blackened with soot and parts are missing I still hang them on the tree as a reminder of a bad time that could have been worse as well as to represent the ones we no longer have that were made by those precious little hands.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 17, 2019 at 8:34 am

    My favorite Christmas ornaments are the ones I have from the fifties. They are made of blue glass with white and yellow stripes. I’m not sure which parent bought them but suspect it was my daddy. He was a big kid all his life.
    Anita Griffith

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    December 17, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I have most all the ornaments my kids made. They make me smile every time I see them

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 17, 2019 at 8:00 am

    The ladies at church do an ornament exchange at their Christmas dinner each year. I found out this year that some of the teenage girls are all about the exchange to. I was surprised but it just goes to show that Christmas decorations are a good reminder of days gone by and friends far away. And maybe it is something that will keep going down the generations.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 17, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Since I do not have room for a tree I have lots of Christmas decorations sitting all over the house. Most of them were given to me by friends or came from my childhood home. Every room has something in it and each time I enter that room it brings back sweet memories. I love this time of the year.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 17, 2019 at 6:19 am

    I didn’t know that Pap made the trains and Santas. They are wonderful. Pap was handy, for sure! He was also THE sweetest man I’ve ever known!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 5:44 am

    Those are neat. Years ago my Wife worked at a Mothers day out program and for Christmas she drew a portrait of each child she was keeping and placed their face in the ornament, and to this day folks tell us that they still have those ornaments and they are the first to go up on the tree and those kids would be in their early 30’s by now.

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