Thursday, December 18, 2008

Family Heirloom

I am a big believer in objects having meaning only insofar as it is given to them.

For instance, I have to laugh a little when I see jewelry commercials this time of year advertising the newest jewelry design that "means" something. The three-stone ring or necklace, for instance, means past, present and future only because that jewelry company says so.

While many meanings are given to things in order to sell them, this phenomena can also have a positive function.

Most people have some sort of heirloom--I wear my husband's grandmother's engagement ring--but them meanings we give to them usually have more value than the object itself.

Pictured above is a piece of garland that is a section of the original, longer one. This hung on my grandmother's tree when she was little. She lived in a cabin with no electricity, so there were no Christmas lights. The aluminum discs of the garland captured the light from the fireplace, illuminating the tree.

My mom and my aunt each have a piece, and when I married, my mom cut a section for me that now hangs on my own tree. I paused for a moment this year when I hung it next to my high-tech LEDs. What a difference two generations makes.


Londyn said...

How lovely! I always wished I had an heirloom item...

JR said...

I bet you have one you haven't even thought of somewhere! It could be a hand-me-down pan that has made birthday cakes for years, a piece of costume jewelry or even an old picture. And if you truly don't have one, do what I did--make your own! When my hubby asked me what I wanted for our first Christmas as husband and wife, I said that I wanted something I could give to a future child :-).