Christmas is the time of year when evergreen trees become special. Whether fresh cut, potted or artificial, decorated, they serve a different purpose. Besides making homes cheerier, they provide a festive atmosphere in stores and businesses.
The song, O Christmas Tree (or O Tannenbaum), written by Ernst Anschutz in 1824, praises the tree’s faithfulness for staying green and bringing us so much pleasure. It still does.
Themes, colors, shapes and purpose vary widely. I love the variety - modern, sleek trees, humorous themed trees and candlelit, historic trees. But we each seek our own design for our homes.
Birds sing on my Christmas tree, stars twinkle, friends and family members live on.
While decorating my Christmas tree I realized how much my collection of ornaments reflects my life. There are a few things from the tree my parents’ decorated when I was a kid, but they are so fragile, I don’t usually put them up any more.
I purchased many ornaments as souvenirs when my husband and I traveled. Something small for the Christmas tree was much easier to carry home than a teapot or vase. I have a miniature stained glass of a volcano erupting in Hawaii; a streetcar from San Francisco; a miniature street scene from Charleston, SC; a miniature beer stein from Germany; Dutch wooden shoes from Amsterdam; Falling Water from Ohiopyle, PA; and a cowboy boot from Arizona; a ball from Southfork Ranch, Tx (Remember Dallas and Who Shot JR?)and a and ski-lift from Wisp and decorated ball of the historic train station from Garrett County, MD.
Some reflect our average life, such as books, cats, dogs, goats, peacocks, horses, cars airplanes, nativity scenes and picture ornaments. Our children are there as redheaded Cabbage Patch ornaments, Raggedy Ann and Andy, children riding horses, Big Wheels, bicycles, ballet slippers, Barbie, and a computer.
I also honor other people I care about and keep those who are gone alive on my tree. There is a fire truck for Uncle Ted and his family, a sewing machine for Aunt Mil and Aunt Mary, a cake for Aunt Dot, an airplane for Aunt Marty and Uncle Otts, a personalized stork for my niece’s children, a soldier and patriotic items for Dad and Mom, a rose for my mother-in-law, a guitar and soccer ball for my son-in-law, footballs for my father and brothers, a book and teapot for Betty, a postman for Ron and many more for family and friends.
I still have some handmade ornaments from my children, the Prunty children and Hailey Stivers; painted oyster shells from Leanne Englar and delicate eggshells from my brother John.
I enjoy seeing themed trees in public displays and in other homes, such as all blue and silver ornaments, cartoon characters, ribbons or dolls. If I were wealthy, I would have differently decorated trees in each room. But since I am not, I love my personal tree. Like my writing, it helps keep family and friends alive.
Let me know if you have a special theme for your Christmas tree or an unusual tradition. Enjoy the season and have a wonderful New Year.