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Monday, December 14, 2009

What's On Your Tree?

There must be lights. Everything else is optional. Outdoor trees decorated with nothing but lights and snow need nothing more. Tropical plants indoors take on a holiday air with lights added. Lights are enough. It’s the early fall of darkness in December that cries out for candles, fires and human ingenuity. We gather around light and take psychological comfort from it.

Homemade ornaments? Many years ago my mother-in-law gave me a set of tatted snowflakes. When they yellowed with age, I had to re-bleach them but never did re-starch. It’s okay. They are white and sweet. Then there are the “Lornaments,” made by friend Amanda from her mother’s old dog’s license tags. I still haven’t transformed Nikki’s old tags but will do that one of these years. I still remember the ornaments my sisters and I made, the ones my son brought home from school, all those I painted one uncharacteristically crafty winter.

(Other friends are cleverer and craftier than I am. Here’s a recent note from Marjorie: “Right now I am selling woven Moravian paper star ornaments and fleece scarves and throws. That collection is called NoSo. It is a little Woodstock and a little edgy big city. Also, it involves no or very little sewing. I plan to also have an assortment of Christmas stockings and crocheted decorations for sale soon. I will have landscape and art photography. Later I will be adding cloth shopping bags, fabric jewelry and other creations.” Take a look!)

Natural ornaments? The rosehips collected from the wild are subtle almost to the point of invisibility. David laughed when I pointed them out to him, but I think they add charm. More easily seen are the dried hydrangea blossoms friend Elizabeth brought for the tree. Her tree has only lights and hydrangea blossoms. Her tree could be in a magazine. Not mine. Like my gardens, my Christmas trees are always higgledy-piggledy conglomerations.


Old "collectibles"? One paper and tinsel piece, gift of an old dear friend, dates from the Victorian era. Many others, old glass ornaments shaped variously like pine cones, fish, Santas and houses, have lost most of their original color. They still go on my tree. Today I'll be adding a few traditional items from Romania, the broken bits turned toward the tree so they won't show.

Hallmark? In general, I am not a Hallmark kind of gal, but when friend Chris wanted to loan me his small collection of about eight ornaments, a series the company never too any further, they went on the tree, too. We don’t have a tree at home this year, and neither does Chris, so we’re sharing this one at the bookstore.

Icicles? Mine are glass and of various shapes and sizes. I love the way they catch and reflect the light.

Tinsel? Yes! It’s old-fashioned, it’s corny, it’s a little tacky. So be it!

Do you have at tree? What’s on it? What’s under it? No, it's too early to let that cat out of the bag!

4 comments:

Dawn said...

Ahhh...how timely. I put the ornaments on the tree tonight. First up were six glass balls that came from my husband's mother. I don't think they're valuable..but they remind me of her and that's special. Also up early was one ornament my own mother made. No one Saturday night at our Christmas party but husband and I will know how special these ornaments are...but we know and that's all that matters.

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, I like the idea that only the two of you know how special some of the ornaments are to you. I think to me the whole business of a Christmas tree is recapturing childhood magic, and that has nothing to do with "valuable" ornaments. Some of mine are decidedly shabby, candidates for discard, but I'm hanging onto them.

Deborah said...

My tree was lovingly decorated with old ornaments my sons made, ornaments their teachers made (with photos of them inside), a crocheted ornament made by my Mother, ornaments painted by my sister one winter, ornaments from places I've vacationed and from cities in which I've lived. Since my sons have grown there isn't anyone who cares to decorate the tree with me. Actually, that's not true - I'm sure my sisters and I, as well as some friends, would enjoy decorating our trees together. It's distance that precludes that happening.

P. J. Grath said...

Deborah, you still have the ornaments I painted? Ian will be glad to learn that they remain in the family. I painted them the year he started nursery school--sometimes seems eons ago, sometimes only yesterday.

We WOULD have fun decorating trees together, wouldn't we? Remember our game of hiding the tiny little dove from the nativity scene somewhere on the tree for the others to hunt? I thought of that this morning.

Have added a few Christmas cards to my tree (punched corners, ribbon through hole to tie) and some odds and ends I've collected over the years that were never intended to decorate trees but look good on it, IMO.