(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SILVER BELLS")
UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Bum bum bum, bum bum bum bum (ph).
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Time now to talk Christmas tree decorations. Earlier this month, I spoke with Bonnie Mackay, who wrote a memoir told through Christmas ornaments. And we asked you to tell us the stories behind your favorite ornaments.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Joan Bowen of Wichita, Kan. told us about an ornament that reminds her of her younger brother Jim, who died 26 years ago. He made it when he was a kid.
JOAN BOWEN: It is one of the ugliest ornaments imaginable.
SIEGEL: He took the kind of clay that you use in elementary school and formed it into a blobby pancake, painted it completely black...
BOWEN: And then stuck his either kindergarten or first grade school picture on the ornament. And the picture is the only part of the ornament that is not ugly (laughter). And every year - he was so proud of this ornament - he would hang it in the front of our family Christmas tree.
SHAPIRO: And so began an annual battle between Joan Bowen and her brother. She would come home, see the ornament on the front of the tree, move it to the back.
SIEGEL: Then Jim would walk in and move it back to the front. Joan Bowen says they were always teasing each other.
BOWEN: And he could annoy like no other (laughter). He was a great kid.
SHAPIRO: After Jim died, Joan got to keep that ornament.
BOWEN: My mom gave it to me and told me that I could have it on the condition that it would be hung every year in the front of my tree.
SHAPIRO: And every year, Joan Bowen has kept that promise.
SIEGEL: Sara Black of Hurricane, Utah got her favorite ornament through illicit means. She told us about it over Skype.
SARA BLACK: I totally stole a little Christmas ornament from my older sister. So it's a little baby Jesus nativity scene. It says joy to the world across the top.
SIEGEL: Sara told us she snagged it right off the Christmas tree one year, and now it's on her Christmas tree. And she feels a little guilty about it.
BLACK: My husband makes fun of me 'cause he says that it's really wrong to have a stolen baby Jesus on the Christmas tree. But I think it's really cute. And it has a lot of sentimental value at this point.
SHAPIRO: Sara says her sister Andrea still doesn't know about the theft, or at least she didn't until now. And she has a message for her.
BLACK: I love you, Andi. I adore you. But I also really like your Christmas ornament and I don't want to give it back, so don't make me.
SHAPIRO: And in her email to us, Sara added, I also stole her eyebrow tweezers in college. They're really good tweezers.
SIEGEL: One more ornament story from Jeffrey Keith in Denver. Before his family put ornaments on their tree, his mother followed a ritual meant to prevent decorating accidents. Each year, she'd pick up a cheap glass ball and then...
JEFFREY KEITH: She would swing it into the fireplace. It would smash everywhere. And then she would announce triumphantly that now we've broken one ball. We don't have to break anymore.
SIEGEL: And Jeffrey Keith told us it usually worked.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE")
BRENDA LEE: (Singing) Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop. Mistletoe hung where you...
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