Latter-day Saint Life

The unconventional (and easy) Christmas ornament tradition you can start this year

Happy black woman decorating Christmas tree with her daughter at home.
Christmas ornaments can take on special meaning in our hearts.
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Christmas ornaments come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, from traditional glass baubles and dried fruit to delicate lace angels and felted gingerbread cookies. They’re handmade and store-bought—some are family heirlooms, and some only live on the tree for a season.

But did you ever think to put your reading glasses on the Christmas tree and turn them into an ornament?

For author Jason F. Wright, it’s become a tradition.

Jason constantly looks for reminders in everyday life that point him to Jesus. A few years ago, he began writing and speaking about an idea he calls “Godly Glasses”—seeing one other, and ourselves, through a godly lens. “It’s to not judge who your neighbor is in this moment,” Jason says. “It’s to look at your neighbor and imagine who they’re becoming. What is their great potential? What is their divine journey?”

Naturally, with this analogy, glasses became one of the everyday life reminders that pointed him to Christ. But still, he was having trouble keeping this idea top of mind.

Until Christmas.

Watch this 90-second clip to hear Jason share the story of how his reading glasses ended up on the Christmas tree.

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Why Jason Wright turned reading glasses into a Christmas ornament

Like Jason, we added a decoration to our family Christmas tree one year that has helped us find new meaning in the season: teddy bears. Often featured on Christmas trees as smaller ornaments, teddy bears have taken on a special meaning for my parents. But for a while, they were a reminder of difficulty.

When I was young, my parents, Ron and Shanon Sommer, tried and failed to launch a teddy bear company. At the end of the venture, we were left with barely any money and a garage full of unsold teddy bears. As a young child, I was spared from the worry of the financial crisis we were in, but my parents, of course, were not. The holiday season after things went from bad to worse, they didn’t know how they’d pay the bills, let alone provide some kind of Christmas for their four young children.

That worry-filled holiday season, my grandparents gave my parents some money, and an anonymous friend left some cash in our mailbox. It wasn’t enough to relieve the financial burden, but to my parents at the time, it was significant and made it possible for them to give their children a few Christmas presents.

“This was a lonely process for [us]. We didn’t have a lot of backup,” Shanon recalls. “I still feel like we were all alone through those years. I received a lot of comfort from the Lord. I felt peace through the whole thing.”

Even though they didn’t have a financial miracle that saved their business, my parents were blessed with spiritually sustaining experiences, and their testimonies of Jesus brought them peace.

The following year, even though the remaining teddy bears were a bitter reminder of things not working out how they’d hoped, my mom began to decorate the Christmas tree with them.

“It was such a financial crisis, and we had all these bears left over,” Shanon explains. “The bears on the tree remind me of feeling gratitude that [bleak] Christmas for what we had: simple things, a simple life. … It took me a long time to even like the bears, but putting them on the Christmas tree year after year reminds me to be very grateful for what we have.”

Jason Wright’s reading glasses are a yearly ornament on their family’s Christmas tree.
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Jason Wright’s reading glasses are a yearly ornament on their family’s Christmas tree.
Cowboy teddy bear on the Christmas tree
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Teddy bears on the Sommer family Christmas tree are a gratitude reminder.
Teddy bears on the Christmas tree
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From glasses to teddy bears, Christmas ornaments can remind us of the goodness of God.
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Jason Wright’s reading glasses are a yearly ornament on their family’s Christmas tree.
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From reading glasses to teddy bears, we can find reminders of the Savior’s mercy and love in every good thing: “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it” (Alma 30:44). And when we feel His love, we can share it with others by seeing and doing as He would.

What nontraditional ornament do you hang on your Christmas tree that reminds you of Christ? If you don’t have one, maybe you can start this year with an old pair of glasses. They’re usually easy to find. And so is a teddy bear.

Jason Wright’s full Seek class about learning to see with God’s eyes is available here.

Seek Jason F. Wright Christmas
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