Holiday Guide

The Ornament Rescue League turns Forgotten Treasures Into New Memories

A local group takes old ornaments and uses them to do good for the community

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Christmas ornaments have a particular way of stirring old memories, not just of the holidays in general, but of specific moments and people. Often times we receive ornaments as gifts from loved ones, and they become a kind of yuletide totem, representative of the things and people we’ve loved, and sometimes lost.

“My mom and I were yard sale buddies,” says Cheryl McCarthy. “It was our Saturday routine for years.” On those Saturdays they would take extra care to spot old Christmas decorations and tree ornaments. Cheryl’s mom passed eight years ago, but the yard sale quests continued. One day, as she was loading a box of 500 old Christmas lights into her car, she had a realization. “I sat there reflecting on my mom and all the fun we had, and somewhere along the way it dawned on me. We were giving these ornaments a new chance to shine,” she says. “We’re rescuing these memories.”

It wasn’t long before Cheryl started the Ornament Rescue League with the simple, but inspiring idea of turning old Christmas ornaments into shiny new ones, ready for gifting and creating new memories. But selling them wasn’t enough. Cheryl and her crafty partners donate all of the profits to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital. In its first year, the Ornament Rescue League raised $900 for the hospital. Last year it made $3,200. When people at yard sales heard what she was doing, they couldn’t bring her their boxes of old ornaments fast enough.

“It’s been such a wonderful journey,” Cheryl says. “Everybody wants to contribute and this is such a simple, silly way to do it. It has a wonderful feeling around it.” It doesn’t hurt that the ornaments are completely adorable either. OrnamentRescue.Blogspot.com; Find them on Etsy and at the Providence Flea on December 4.