I do love Christmas trees! The first year we were married, I ensured we had our own tree, decorated with a combination of cross-stitched and cheap store-bought decorations. I was very proud of it. A yellow ‘first Christmas together bauble’ and plastic pearl garland have survived and can still be found on this year’s tree. That first tree served us well, and as the years passed it was assembled in 5 different houses as we added first a cat, then a dog and finally two children to our family.
As the children grew, the tree looked progressively smaller and I longed for a large luxurious tree which was taller than my children. We did eventually purchase a large tree. Furniture needed to be moved around to accomodate it, but it was worth it. It was decorated in shades of pink, purple, silver and white. When we planned to downsize to a smaller home, it was sold, along with all its colour-co-ordinated decorations.
My husband, who can be a bit of a grinch and is not a fan of Christmas trees or the amount spent on decorating them, was keen not to have one in our new home. “There’s just no room” was his argument. He sort of had a point, so I started researching space-saving alternatives. My Canadian friend suggested a pencil pine, a very narrow tree which ensures minimal floor space is taken up. I was unable to find any in the stores, but eventually located some online and ordered a mid-sized one. I waited expectantly and with trepidation, not sure of the quality (it seemed too cheap), size or appearance we would end up with. I needn’t have worried. This little tree is narrow, but has hundreds of tips, so looks thick and holds many ornaments. It is a little short and gets lost when standing on the floor, so I place it on a side table and voila, my perfect Christmas tree for here and now! My current tree matches our home, with decorations in a cool aqua, white and silver palette, perfect for a summer Christmas.
I have the tree set up so it can be seen almost as soon as you enter the house and every time you come into the living area. I often spend a few minutes just admiring it and looking at the ornaments, many which have been purchased on trips and serve as both souvenirs and memory joggers. Thus, the tree has become more than just a Christmas Tree but also a reminder of distant friends and happy holiday memories. The oldest holiday souvenir ornament is from Canada, purchased at the Christmas Store in Victoria, Vancouver Island in 1999. The most recent holiday-related addition is a tiny pottery bauble, hand-painted with Tuscan wildflowers, purchased from an artist in her Florentine workshop earlier this year.
Oh Christmas Tree indeed!
Stay tuned for the story of my favourite tree ornament on Day 16.