They can be family heirlooms, souvenirs, fundraisers or boxes of shimmer and shine. But the best ornaments in South Mississippi reflect memories.
On the 12th Day of Christmas, we look not to lords a-leaping or turtle doves but to the ornaments we hang every year and those we add to our collections.
Back a couple of generations, the ornaments came in "Shiny Brite" cardboard boxes from five-and-dime stores.
Mixed in with these glass ornaments with frosted snowflakes were ornaments we made in school and proudly presented to our parents on Christmas Day. Each year, they were hung farther back on the tree as they became tattered and faded.
Now when we unpack our treasured ornaments from plastic totes, they remind us of the places we visited, our kids' Hallmark moments or, for too many families, the ornaments and memories lost to Hurricane Katrina.
For those starting or rebuilding their ornament collections, Martin Miazza gift shop in Gulfport has a new pewter ornament each year and ornaments from past years.
The same goes for Biloxi Main Street, which captured an image of Sacred Heart on its 2015 ornament and has available other historic places -- some still standing, some only a memory.
The second in a series of Biloxi Lighthouse ornaments shows a Hurricane Hunter aircraft flying by the city's iconic lighthouse.
"I'm really happy with it," said Bill Raymond, the city's historical administrator and manager of the Biloxi Visitors Center.
Last year's ornament, showing the lighthouse decorated in tinsel, was re-created from a 1960s photograph.
"I ran out last year and reordered," he said. The second set is gone, too.
This year, he had 500 ornaments made to honor two icons -- the lighthouse and Keesler Air Force Base.
"Keesler is such an important part of our town and the history of our town," he said.
At Bay Life gift shop on Main Street in Bay St. Louis, shoppers admire ornaments that reflect coastal life in South Mississippi.
The wooden ornaments with metal accents are made by Tracy Stieffel, the oyster shell ornaments by Michelle Savoy and the crab-shell ornaments by Lynne Benvenutti -- all Coast artists, said shop owner Janice Guido.
Sandy Hillman said customers who stop in at Main Street Florist in Moss Point come for the flowers, but once they see the crystal angels, the ornaments fly out of the shop. Even if shoppers already have an attic full of holiday decorations, who doesn't need another angel ornament to add to their Christmas tree!