What does the Christmas tree mean to you?
Is it a pretty accessory to mark the season or a treasure trove of memories and tradition?
THE CHRISTMAS TREE – A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
Evergreen firs have been used by Christians and pagans for thousands of years to celebrate winter festivals. It is thought that the trees, still green after other trees were bare, reminded people of the spring to come.
Germany is credited with the start of the Christmas tree tradition during the 16th century. Sometimes the trees were built out of pyramids of wood and decorated with evergreen branches and candles.
As the decorating became more popular, streamers were used to represent angel hair, adding to the delight of the fun for children. Tinsel is the modern-day version of ‘angel hair’. For more on angels and how to make your own, check out my post 3 Angels that are Super Sweet, Cheap and Easy to Make.
A TREE OF TREASURED TRADITION
While family, friends, feasting and fun are all part of the joy of the wonderful Christmas season, for me tradition plays a big role too and our tree is full of memory and tradition.
I think the colour co-ordinated Christmas trees that are so popular these days are beautiful and striking, but I can’t help but wonder what becomes of the treasured decorations from years past.
Are they thrown out? Or stuck in a box waiting for their colour turn to come?
I can’t wait for the annual unveiling of the little treasures from Christmas trees past. Little Mexican ‘God’s Eyes’ made with paddle pop sticks and wool by my sons when they were in primary school sit proudly next to last year’s indulgent buy from Myer.
Tiny felt stockings and stars, also made by my sons while at school, are proudly placed beside the three beautiful Hallmark decorations my mother bought me for my tree in my first flat when I left home.
Tiny tin owls, birds, fish, hearts and stars, made with much fun with my daughter in law when she was still the high school sweetheart of my youngest son sit sweetly next to the little decorated bears I made with a wonderful friend for each member of the family about 15 years ago.
Cardboard and cellophane ‘stained glass’ stars and bells made with the kids when they were still children are strategically placed so the fairy lights shine through them.
A beautiful embroidered ‘T’ made for me by a lovely friend decades ago is another treasure that sits next to the balding bear picture frame ornament given to my 27-year-old son to mark his first Christmas.
Plastic baubles and frames with pictures of each of the Goddess’s first Christmas are tucked in amongst the tinsel and lights.
Each little Christmas tree decoration has its own story, bringing to life treasured memories. Even the new Myer bought indulgences are a reminder of a relatively new tradition. Just before Christmas, I spend a day with each daughter in law to select a special decoration and enjoy a girl time lunch.
Then there are the little wonders of the homemade advent calendar that once had three little boys – now marvellous men – buzzing with anticipation to see which of them was lucky enough to get the ‘special heart’ – the most prized decoration.
This little mirrored heart was given to me by a friend of my mother’s more than 30 years ago. Why it became the best Christmas prize I have no idea yet I get a thrill when I am the lucky one (and not Hubby or the grandkids) to open the tiny door to that heart.
I can’t imagine leaving these little time capsules of love, fun and friendship in a dark lidded box during the sparkly season of Christmas.
Every year I lovingly take them from their little padded prison cells and hang them to shine in all their glory on the Christmas tree that is so symbolic of the season of love.
The Christmas tree itself is part of the tradition. Bought more than 20 years ago when I could no longer bear killing the potted pines (through neglect outside of the season) I kept buying, our artificial tree represents all the lives (of trees) that I have saved.
The ad-hock combination of ornaments does not lend itself to colour coordination and the perfect spacing and balance that so many strive for. I see this as a good thing because when my four-year-old Goddess feels the need to rearrange the decorations, as she did many times last year, I don’t get upset.
When my Hubby helps me set up and doesn’t realise that size DOES matter, when it comes to tree ornament placement, I don’t feel the need to redo all of his contributions.
I love the quirky, unbalanced, multi-coloured marvellous mess that is our tree of treasured tradition.
How do you choose to decorate your tree?
Want to know what your tree says about you?
Happy decorating, and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.