We have had a lot of Christmas ornaments over the years – bought, given, inherited, made by children. Every year, there’s the process of deciding if we really want to keep all the ornaments that have accumulated in the boxes, which would easily overwhelm any tree and which certain would drag our new pencil tree, designed for our narrow urban space, down to the ground. So each year we part with a few that no longer have any particular value and hope not to acquire too many more. It’s a little process that lets us think about and appreciate each one and remember what it means. But being who I am, the one that means the most to me, or at least that I will never part with, isn’t a Christmas ornament at all, really. We’ve had it as long as I can remember even putting up any kind of Christmas decoration, and it’s been on the tree every year. It’s our weather brick.
I don’t even remember where I got it, other than that it was when I was typesetting for a living. It’s possible we were tasked with typesetting new cards (though I know from looking at it that that’s not my work.) In any event, the weather brick was a “public service” of the Empire State Masonry Institute in Syracuse. It’s a very small brick, about an inch and a half long. You can see from the instructions how it works. It’s the dumbest thing ever, and the dumbest joke ever. I just love it. While the instructions indicate you can use any brick or block to observe the weather, we find that having one that was intended for just this purpose works best. And thus is occupies an honored place on our Christmas tree.