Every year when we start to decorate the Christmas tree I pull out the box of Reed and Barton Christmas Crosses that H’s mother started collecting in 1971 – the year the first one was made. Every year H says, “you don’t have to hang them all. Just pick a few.”
“Now why would I do that?” I ask him. “We have them so we might as well get some use out of them.” Then I start opening boxes and boxes and boxes….
We have thirty-eight of these beautiful yearly silver crosses out of the forty-eight that have been manufactured. They are all in their original boxes and all but two have the paperwork inside describing the cross for that year and what it signifies. All but one have their red silver cloth bags to hold the ornament.
These crosses are limited editions and in the seventies era the paperwork for each one said how many crosses were made. The amount was anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 of each one. The paperwork from the later years just says they are limited editions and after the season is over the die is broken.
It’s always easier to hang the crosses than it is to take them off the tree and put back in their boxes. Maybe I should listen to H. It was interesting this year to read about a few as we put them up and reminisce about what each year means to us. Eighty-three, the year H graduated from LSU. Ninety-two, the year Andrew was born. Seventy-three, the year I graduated from high school, and so on and so on. Usually we are in more of a hurry. I think when you get older you take more time to enjoy the little things.
H mentioned the crosses needed to be cleaned while I just noticed the great patina. I told him that could be his job next year.
In one of the boxes from the seventies editions there was a pamphlet describing the cross and stated what a good buy it was for $12.95.
In a 1990’s box there was a receipt from a local jewelry store – now out of business – for the purchase price of $35.00 for one cross.
The earlier crosses came with a silver chain so you could also use it as a necklace. In later years they had a red ribbon for tying on the tree, and now I don’t think anything extra is added in the box.
We are missing the crosses from 2006 – 2015. They never got bought. In 2016 we decided to start the tradition back up of buying a cross each Christmas season. The cost was $81.00.
This year I spent $100.00 on the newest edition. Our goal is to acquire the ten that we are missing along with purchasing the current yearly cross. I’ve found them online on different sites from $59.00 to $150.00. Most are in the higher price range. The longer we wait the more they will cost so I might as well get started!
Reed and Barton started making Christmas crosses in 1971. You can read about the history of these crosses here.