A Christmas Treasure Returned.
When the Hock family Christmas tree goes up this year, one ornament is likely to stand out.
The small, silver nutcracker, which marks a child’s first Christmas, was nearly lost.
Come December, “We would have wondered where it was,” Meg Hock said last week of the ornament that contains a photo of her oldest son, J.D.
The memento, which includes her son’s full name, John Douglas, and the year of his first Christmas, 1999, was discovered earlier this year by Jim Chadwick of Old Greenwich as he and his father discarded their Christmas tree at Greenwich Point Park.
In looking over the piles of evergreens, the 14-year-old Stanwich School student noticed the object within the branches of one of the trees.
Jim brought it back to his home in the hopes of tracking down its owner. Despite the family’s efforts, the owner remained unidentified until a story in the Greenwich Time last week helped to unravel the mystery.
The story, published Wednesday, told of the Chadwick family’s efforts to find the owners. It ran alongside a photo of the ornament.
Hock, who grew up in Greenwich and now lives in Riverside with her family, said several people contacted her family, including an acquaintance who thought the picture looked like her 4-year-old son Andrew.
Recalling that morning, she said, “I ran out to the driveway to get the newspaper, wondering if it could be J.D.”
Her hunch turned out to be correct as she found herself staring at her son’s picture.
“It’s one of the ornaments we are most fond of,” she said, noting it was the first in a tradition that would ultimately mark all three of her children’s first Christmases.
The ornament had fallen and had become nestled in the inner branches of the Hocks’ tree last year, and rather than upsetting the other decorations and lights, she said she planned on retrieving it before discarding their tree.
Excited to collect what had mistakenly been left behind on the tree, Hock said she called the Chadwicks and arranged to have her son meet with Jim so he could shake his hand and thank him.
That afternoon, she picked J.D. up from Riverside School and showed him the Greenwich Time story.
“He was so excited when he saw the article,” she said.
J.D. said last week he was pleased someone had discovered the treasure. “I thought it would be exciting to meet the man who found it.”
At the Chadwicks’ home, J.D. and Jim met, giving Hock a chance to take a photo of both of them together.
Both moms said the experience was a good lesson for their sons.
“I think it was an eye-opener that people really are wonderful,” Hock said. “You try and teach your children to be good citizens. You try and teach them that if you do good things for good people then good things will happen to you.”
In thanking the Greenwich Time for publishing the article, Patricia Chadwick said it helped to prove the value of being proactive.
“I think it reinforces the idea that you can make good things happen by taking them into your own hands,” she said.