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Decorating With Ag

Decorating our live Christmas tree is sometimes like opening a time capsule. I can trace different stages of my life through the ornaments in the box.

I think the first ornaments I ever bought myself were a set of three dairy cows back when I was in college. Little did I know it was the start of a collection of farm ornaments that continues to grow. 

A trip to The Christmas Mouse, a landmark Christmas shop in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, really got my collection going. I added pigs, which my great-grandfather raised on the family farm in Virginia. I also started my own flock of sheep, which I developed an affinity for after volunteering at the sheep barns as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech.

My favorite farm ornament is one I bought years ago at a craft show on Black Friday. It’s an angel made from a cotton boll. Every year when I hang her on the tree, I wish I’d bought a few more. If she was big enough, I’d make her the tree topper.

When our first son was born, I started the tradition of buying him an ornament every year. My plan was that when he moved into his first home, these ornaments would be the start of his own tree. With the addition of two other sons, I’m now adding three new ornaments to our tree each year. Sometimes the ornament reflects what they are interested in at the time, and other times it’s a farm ornament. There are reindeer and trains mixed among the tractors and farm animals.

The last two years, I’ve bought all three boys the same ornament, made by Artisan Leaf. This local company uses real tobacco leaves to make everything from drink coasters to table tops and wall panels. In 2018, the ornament was a Christmas ball. This year, it was a tobacco leaf. Each year, I’ve bought four: one for us and one for each of the boys. Even if they decide not to farm, these will be a reminder of their heritage – one that stretches back several generations.

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