Millie Bradley’s Christmas tree is like a family tree. It’s decorated with handmade and customized ornaments for her children and grandchildren – a tradition started years ago by Millie’s own mother.
Millie said her mother did ceramics, and she first made ornaments by hand for both of Millie’s children. Her son Vernon got a candle; daughter Diane received a sled. Millie and her husband already had their own ornaments – a bell for her and a Santa Claus for him.
When the kids got married, their grandmother made ornaments for each of their spouses, and then for their children. The one-of-a-kind decorations have each person’s name painted on them.
“I’ve got all the original ones for my kids and grandkids,” Millie said. “Now I can pass them down.”
For now the ornaments stay with Millie. When her family visit at the holidays, she said, they love to search for theirs on the tree. She has four grandchildren and nine great-grands. “They’re real proud of them. They come and look every time. Especially the grandkids like to come and see theirs.”
After Millie’s mother died, Millie kept up the tradition in her own way. She didn’t make ceramic figures, but she would hunt for ornaments that would be meaningful to each person: a truck for a truck driver, a saddle for a horsewoman – and a boot for her baby.
As Millie’s family grows, so does her ornament collection. She may need a bigger tree before long!