More Than a Decoration

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Christmas tree isn't just a decoration. It reflects family and memories and love.

Thursday's "At Home" column by Marni Jameson talked about her visit to a Christmas tree exhibit with artistic trees of all shapes, colors, and materials. They included one made of apple-green Tupperware bowls and one shaped like the Eiffel Tower. Then Marni gave readers tips on how to create their own designer trees.

Much as I enjoy Marni Jameson's column, this time I disagree with her. I'm all for creativity, but I don't want a designer tree.

I want one that creates memories of Christmases past and hints at those to come.

The second picture shows the year I got my doll house. A wonderful Christmas with a scrawny tree covered in hand-made decorations. The paper chains are the most obvious here, and we had at least two kinds. Our tree topper was a cardboard star covered with aluminum foil, and the best ornaments were . . . well, I'll tell you about them in a minute.

I remember only four store-bought things that ornamented our Christmas trees as I grew up. Strings of lights, shiny round balls (like the one in the top picture), long plastic ornaments that resembled the icicles hanging from the eves, and tinsel.

The best ornaments were the ones my father made from goose or turkey wishbones. He dried the wishbones and painted them silver. I'm not sure how many there were originally, but I have two that hang on my tree every year. You can see one of them in the first picture.

The third picture shows the type of tree we had when my children were growing up. By now, most of the ornaments were commercially made, but they still had memories attached. The mouse I bought at a dime store when I moved out on my own, the cloth Santa that always hung at the bottom of the tree because toddlers couldn't destroy it, and the ornaments Roland's parents gave us each year. We also used the ones Caroline and John made in school, but most of them disintegrated over time.

Even though the children are grown up now, the tradition continues. My current tree (shown in the last picture) still wears the mouse and the Santa, the ornaments from Roland's parents, and the two wishbones. The stocking I crocheted for Caroline hangs in her living room, along with the one I made for Pete the year they got married. John's stocking is still here, but once he has a permanent home, I'm sure he'll take his, too.

So don't let anyone convince you that a Christmas tree is just art or decor.

It is family and memories and love.


Caroline Ill said...

For the record, I still have some of the ornaments I made at school, and some of them still go on our tree.
Although, I can't believe you have your tree up already.

Kathryn Page Camp said...

So that's why I don't have those ornaments any more.

We have some hectic weekends coming up, so the day after Thanksgiving seemed as good a time as any to put up the tree. We also put lighted garlands and a lighted wreath on our balcony.

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