Ornament of the year a ‘sentimental’ tradition

Dec 4, 2023

MATTAPOISETT — Each year for 40 years the St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett has made an “ornament of the year” that is sold at its annual Christmas by the Sea Bazaar. 

At this year’s bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 2, ornament designer Roni King presented this year’s ornament: An angel peacefully sleeping in front of a red candle. 

According to King, she has designed every ornament since 1983 when she was president of the church’s Women’s Guild — the first ornament being a red wooden rocking horse. But the design for this year’s ornament goes back even further, all the way to 1955. 

“In 1955, when I was in high school, our art teacher asked us to make a poster for the old folks home and I drew that out,” said King. “It stayed in my mind … and so I thought of that when I was doing this year’s ornament.”

According to King, there are about 150 collectors who buy a new “ornament of the year” at every Christmas by the Sea Bazaar and she has become, in a small way, part of those people’s holiday tradition. 

And now, with her design from 1955 being hung on Christmas trees across the Tri-Town, she feels “sentimental.”

“I think about Sister Madeline, who was our art teacher, who encouraged my talent and encouraged me to paint,” she said.

According to King, she has been involved in the St. Anthony’s Christmas Fair since 1965. “I used to be the youngest but now I’m one of the oldest,” she said.

Along with King’s ornament sale, this year’s fair featured a “Grand Raffle” where patrons could enter for their chance to win big prizes, a gift basket raffle, a wreath sale, baked goods, craft vendors and music. 

King added that the fair is “definitely a tradition, and we hate to see old traditions die.”