Grand Elf Ornament Factory

Every year for many years Grumpa Joe, and Busia Barb conducted an ornament making day with the grand-elves. Most of the big work was done by the big elf himself, but the ornamentation and coloring was finished by the grand-elves. The workshop was stocked with fast drying water based paints, brushes, Elmer’s glue , and glitter of many colors. There were enough raw forms to allow each grand-elf to make a dozen ornaments. The caveat was that each grand-elf had to leave one ornament for the grandparents.

When the elves completed the ornaments, the workshop glistened in many colors. There was glitter everywhere. The grand-elves glittered too. Many of them got glitter in the hair and shined for weeks after. The tradition lasted for six years, and finally ended in 2003 when Busia Barb left us for heaven.

One year, I set them up with thread spools and toothpicks. Those were tough materials to handle, and the ornaments turned out looking pretty sad. In most of the  years, the forms were pre-cut shapes from thin plywood. I cheated one year, and bought forms from Michael’s. Another time, the elves used dowel rods and yarn to make Ojo de Dios or Eye of God. That year, the elves had help from a visiting cousin elf who turned out to be a fabulous teacher with the patience of a saint. Elf Ana became my favorite great-niece.

Not all the families could make it every year, but usually, two out of three joined in the fun. The  more there were the more we glistened. The factory work  lasted an hour. The whistle blew and it was time to break for a treat of pizza,  milk and cookies.

My Tree of Life features many of the ornaments produced by the grand-elves in the ornament factory in Frankfort, Illinois. I stare at the example below and remember those times with joy. I am glad I have those happy memories to offset the  sadness that overwhelms me at Christmas.


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