Memory Christmas Ornaments

by Diane Henkler on 12/20/2010

If you are in need of a few last minute Christmas ornaments for your tree – don’t run out to your local Hallmark. Instead take a stroll around your house, open up some junk drawers and see what treasures you can find to make a few memory Christmas ornaments.

Found objects, treasured trinkets, and souvenirs usually have a story to go with them, which makes them interesting visual links to fond memories.  There is no reason anymore for them to be hidden away - let them add some character to your tree this year.  Just hook each object on a ornament hook.

No ornament hook?  Just open up a paperclip and use the small end to hook onto your trinket and the larger end on the tree branch.  Embellish the wire with beads or jingle bells.

Here are some of the items I found:

A skate key

Christmas Tree Ideas Memory Ornaments Skate Key

Advertising buttons

Christmas Tree Decorating Memory Ornaments

Board game playing pieces

Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas DIY Memory Ornaments

The key to the house you grew up in with the address printed out on cardstock

Christmas Tree Decorating House Key Ornament

Your graduation tassel

Christmas Tree Decorating Graduation Tassel Ornament

Your favorite little doll

Christmas Tree Decorating DIY Doll Ornament

A chandelier crystal

Decorating for Christmas Ideas Chandelier Crystals

Sports team medals you or your kids have won.

Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas Memory Ornaments

A key chain

Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas to make

Other items that would work:

girl scout patches
a little toy car
key to your first car
a love letter
school pin
diary key
concert ticket stubs
vacation souvenirs
costume jewelry
kitchen gadgets

What keepsakes, treasured trinkets, or junk do you have laying around your house that you could hang on your Christmas tree this year?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sharon December 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Hi Diane! I’m leaving this comment so you can try to reply to me… let’s see if it works!


2 sharon December 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm



3 Diane December 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Hi Sharon -

This is my reply


4 kathy December 21, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Great ideas came here from Kim’s party…


5 Kelley December 22, 2010 at 10:26 am

I love the idea of using found items and family treasures as ornaments! For the last few years I have been trying to use decorations with meaning for our family…and not just sticking stuff out b/c we have it. Merry Christmas!


6 Lilianna Grace December 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Greetings Diane! I do love the house key the best. Chloe made an ornament out of her Squishes pencil toppers. Too cute! As always I love your ideas. You’ve inspired me so much this year. I often will have little flashes of your ideas pop into my brain! Have a great holiday and thanks for sharing all of your uber fab style with us!


7 Anne November 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Brilliant!….And memorable is exactly what ornaments should be. I actually cleaned out part of my room in my parents’ house this weekend and discovered my summer abroad Italian apartment key and a graduation tassel. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks for the great ideas! Cheers!


8 Downsize and Get Organized May 29, 2012 at 1:27 am

I love these ideas! So often, we stick the mementos from our important life events into a drawer or a cardboard box. And while I’m not a proponent of displaying this type of stuff all over the house, I do love the idea of displaying them at Christmastime – of pulling them out every year and reliving all those great memories. Thank you for sharing this!


9 Shana November 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm

The key is a perfect idea for my daughter’s first Christmas is her first home. I’m stealing that one! Thanks for the great ideas.


10 Gigi Ables November 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Diane, When telling people about your site…I always say we are twin sisters from different mothers! I have my trinkets and keepsakes in a tray on the sideboard in the dining room. Everyone loves to browse through it and ask about the items and I LOVE to tell the stories ! Now I will put a few on the tree too! My tree is a collection of ornaments from my childhood to today….always add a few meaningful things each year. This will add a special touch.Thanks friend!


11 Diane Henkler November 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Thanks Gigi for the nice note. Love hearing from others who love the same things I do. I, too have many ornaments from both my and my husband’s childhood on the tree. They are my favorite ones and bring a smile to my face every Christmas. My mom made a lot of them and now that she is no longer living – they are even more special to me. Thanks for taking the time to say, Hi! I hope you have a wonderful holiday.


12 mattie November 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

ooooh how i love this idea of turning found treasures into christmas ornaments, can’t wait to see what i can come up with! every year i shop around for special ornaments for my sons and this year my oldest son will have his very own first christmas tree and while i told in i’m not ready to pass along all his ornaments i have for him just yet, i would like to get him started with a few and the sports medals are just the perfect place to begin! thank you so much for your creative spark!


13 Allison December 2, 2013 at 10:41 am

This was a favorite pin of mine last year (the key as an ornament) and if it’s ok, I’d love to use it in a round up of the 12 best pins of Christmas. Happy December!


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