Deck the Halls

Collecting Snowbabies, Betsey Clark ornaments

Christmas may be over for another year, but that doesn’t mean Kathy Burton of Alpena automatically will take down her tree and decorations. Because many of her ornaments are snow-themed, she plans to leave select decorations up well into January.

It’s not just that the subject matter lends itself to the frosty season. The sentimentality behind them makes her appreciate their beauty as well.

“My sister started giving me a Betsey Clark ornament every year beginning in the 1970s,” said Kathy of her sister, Barb Szczesniak of Alpena. “She continued doing that until they didn’t make them anymore. Then she switched to Snowbabies.”

Not only do the ornaments fill out an entire tree, but they also have spilled over onto a nearby bookcase. Though her sister started her collection and has continued it annually for about 40 years, other family members and friends also added to the ornaments and figures over time.

This year Kathy’s sister completed a 12-year long series of Snowbabies called the 12 Days of Christmas. With the final one in the series purchased in 2016, the two siblings agreed it might be a good time to call it quits.

“After she finished up with the 12 Days of Christmas we said it’s probably time to stop,” Kathy said. “My tree can’t take anymore so we’ve ended the history.”

Not only has she amassed nearly 40 years worth of ornaments thanks to her sister, but she’s also kept the original boxes they came in and makes sure to pack them back up afterwards once she finally decides to take her tree and other decorations down.

“I put them back in the boxes each year,” she said. “Part of their value is if they are in their original boxes.”

Monetary value aside, however, it is the peace and tranquility she appreciates perhaps the most once the bustle of the holidays are over and she can step back and still enjoy her beautiful decorations and lighted tree during the cold dark days of January.