The official Heartsong ornaments 2020

Every December when I was younger, my mom created handmade Christmas ornaments for my brother and me. Her plan was to provide us with ornaments of our own to use when we were older. She had a theory: when we moved out of her house to start life on our own we would have at least 18 Christmas ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree we get four ourseves. It wasn’t just Aaron and me either. She made these ornaments for all of the Budd family cousins too.

Annie also indulges in this crafting tradition. She started making ornaments with Joylyn when it was only the two of them together. Now, with our families blended together, the holiday crafts continue.

There is a difference though. When I was a kid, Aaron and I just let mom do her thing. These days, the ornaments are a family affair. The kids help brainstorm ideas and often handle sharpies and hot glue guns to assemble and decorate the family ornaments we give as gifts to our closest friends and family.

It was tempting to aim for funny this year. The thematic possibilities for 2020 were endless. We even googled in search of toilet paper roll and murder bee shaped confetti. We looked for miniature medical masks to place inside a plastic globe. We pondered the viability of using dollar store sized bottles of hand sanitizer.

After much contemplation, a decision was made to avoid the year in review approach to ornament making. No references to the pandemic, social distancing, the election, Netflix binging, conference calls, extreme weather, or apocalyptic animals.

We realize 2020 has been a weird year. This was the year that real life imitated something halfway in between Maury Povich and the twilight zone. It started with a tiger king refusing to accept reality and is ending with an American president who refuses to accept reality. In between those two cultural mileposts, we’ve seen mask orders and anti-mask rallies. We got professional sports played in empty arenas and super-spreader parties held in NYC, DC, and LA. New generations of video game consoles were released with near life-like graphics yet the most popuar game in America is a cartoony contest about armless spacesuit wearing little people trying to catch a murderous imposter while fixing their spaceship. Graduations were observed on zoom, vacations were cancelled, theaters were closed, and everyone had to figure out how to live life six feet apart.

This world has enough crazy, we didn’t need to add to it. We ached for something normal. Nothing could be more normal for us than this.

Inside a plastic mason jar, you’ll find feathers and snow. Well, artificial snow but the feathers are real - mostly from our chickens and ducks with a few from our turkey, Uno.

While we love our horses, the birds are the heartbeat of Heartsong Meadow. Annie had a pair of Chinese geese when she moved to the farm. Elvis, a black silkie, was one of the first three chickens we got and is the OG of our farm animals. Ruby and Stanley are long time fowl residents. Wasabi the emu is one of our newest feathered friends and he’s quickly become a favorite part of our world. This farm wouldn’t be what it is without the birds.

They greet us every morning. We’ve hatched several, both naturally and artificially, raising some ducks and chickens from tiny lil ducklings and chicks. Joylyn collects eggs and sells them. Chloe has trained a few chickens to jump on her and perch on her shoulder. Annie and I even rescued a dozen abused birds while on the way to a Valentine’s Day date. Now everyone wants to pet and hug the emu.

When it came time to design this year’s ornaments, it made sense to do something with the feathers. In a year as weird and wild as 2020, the birds kept us grounded.

We all took turns collecting feathers, searching for the cleanest and most intact plumage we could find. The birds blow feathers frequently enough that we could have made 100 ornaments. However, we only made 19.

If you receive one of the Heartsong ornaments, we are sharing with you a piece of our hearts. The fake snow has been added because we’re always dreaming of a white Christmas.

Maybe next year we’ll do something funny.

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