CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS BACK IN THE DAY. For many years, we used to get together with our cousins—Judy, Ken, Dick and Mary Jo—on the day after Thanksgiving and make Christmas ornaments, using styrofoam balls, glitter, and glue. But what about the period before styrofoam? No difference as dramatic as the candles on the tree of a hundred years ago. Until they eventually broke, one by one, some small bell-shaped glass ornaments were valued because, as my mother always pointed out, they had been about the only ornaments they could get during World War II. If one Christmas tree light went out, the whole series went out, so there was a lot of testing of bulbs. Bulbs often went out so we kept lots of spares. We had what we now call “real tinsel”, heavy silvery tinsel which would make any tree look beautiful. We made a point of putting the tinsel on last, one strand at a time. “Real tinsel” was made from lead and is now forbidden. This article in today’s Wall Street Journal notes that: “Some people actually miss the lead version for aesthetic reasons because it was shinier and heavier, and didn’t cling to fingers and sweaters.” Our family certainly missed it.

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