Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Tree

Last weekend we hiked to the basement and wrestled all the miscellaneous boxes marked “Christmas” up into the house so we could decorate. Most of these boxes had not been opened since we packed them up two years ago. Last year we bought a ‘stunt double’ tree and decorations to stand in for our missing tree, then lost somewhere in HHE lala-land. After all we’d been through that season, I was not going to have us do without a tree. The cats were hard on those ornaments, it’s a good thing we gave our favorite stuff a time out (nevermind that we had no choice in it).

Our tree is an artificial one… saving real trees for eight plus years now… and looks pretty good for plastic and wire. Having the lights already attached saves us one major headache. Oh, and it comes in a big BOX!

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Going by all the sniffing and rubbing, the box and tree probably smell like our former cats that the kittens have sensed on other items, like some of the kids’ old stuffed animals. They love Ramses’ old black sheep very much! We also have a number of little plush holiday toys to sit under the tree that probably smell like Misty and Ramses too. We've had those toys for a long time – they come in handy for distracting little kids, drawn to the tree by all the sparkly pretty things, who NEED something to touch and play with. I’m sure those toys have saved many of our breakable ornaments over the years. These toys have been wandering around the living room a lot the last few days… for some (three) reason(s).

I hung the stockings on the kilim with care.

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Our tree is not themed or matching. All of our decor are items that we have collected over the years, or been given, or saved from childhood, or picked up while traveling, or the kids made it in school, etc. Unwrapping each odd bit is a trip through time. We had a ton of help unpacking.

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There’s a Santa Claus that I got when I worked at my first job (in HS) at a department store. He used to walk, ring a bell, and play tinny songs. He’s past that now, a bit decrepit looking (rather like one of those dubious-looking guys in front of WalMart with a red bucket), but he’s too full of good memories to retire.

We have a cute snowman figure, knitted by Grandma.

We have glass hand-blown ornaments from Egypt.

Straw and thread items from Germany.

Beads and embroidery work found in charity bazaars, or from relatives adding pretty flourishes on packages, etc.

A few ‘first home’ hallmark pieces from Brad’s mother, who we lost before Brian was born.

We have chunky, brightly painted clay shapes from kids’ crafts.

One not-so brightly painted dough piece with Honor’s baby footprint in it. A gift from her daycare when she was tiny.

There is Bob the Builder and friends, from when Bob was the HERO in this house and while we have outgrown the show, the ornaments still bring fond smiles.

There are tiny wooden ornaments of all sorts (little snowmen, santa, trees, etc) from a set given by a friend. Some carved olive wood symbols and a handmade clay nativity set, both bought at a charity bazaar (the nativity has gained a giant guinea pig, a dragon, and a cat.. Shrek is no longer in the set.. I don’t know why…). There are some old cheapo apples that we had for our first tree… when we had NO decoration stash and just picked random stuff in bulk… they have somehow lasted for 18yrs and become a favorite with the kids. And goodness knows what else…

Our tree topper is an angel that we bought at a christkindlmarkt in Augsburg. I can still picture the snow, and taste the hot gluhwein.

It was Brian’s turn to place the topper. The kid seems almost big enough to reach on his own, but dad held him steady on the step-ladder anyway.

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I love looking at our tree. All the memories will not show up in photos, but this is one crazy-full tree.

7 comments:

Becky said...

I love the tree! And the memories with the ornaments is awesome as well. Thanks for sharing!

Shannon said...

Our tree is the same. Each year we all pick out ornaments so each year we add more ornaments to a tree that is already full to the top. I love our crazy tree. Perfect themed trees belong in department stores not houses.

Connie said...

Thanks guys! And Shannon, you are right, 'perfect' department store trees definitely belong in department stores!

Sadie said...

I agree with memorable ornaments - much more fun that way! (although most of mine will stay off the tree this year, for lack of space and because it's the cats' first Christmas. I'll stay slightly more sane this way...) your pics look like my house these days - cats and boxes!

bettyl said...

It's wonderful to flashback to great memories as you put the decorations on the tree. I think that's the best part of having traditions.

Christine said...

The tree looks great! Speaking of sewing, my friend and I sewed curtains today.

Connie said...

Curtains would be a fun project, esp. if you can get the pretty rods and other hardware too!