I started decorating earlier, two weeks before Thanksgiving for the family room tree, and a week for the one we put in the front room. I asked my dear other half and my dear son to bring them up from the basement. It was nice to have them done for Thanksgiving and they made the day even more special.
We replaced real trees with artificial ones when son left home to set up on his own. Every year before that when he was young, I loved going out in the cold, fresh air, often buying them from the local tree farm and watching father and son cut one down. The smell of pine wafting through the house was always a treat. However, when son left, it seemed the right time to go in another direction.
My mother would be smiling. She loved Christmas. We always looked forward to her homemade eggnog (and her lovingly made Christmas cakes, and fruitcakes were wonderful). Every Christmas she would put a spot of Cream Sherry on top of each glass of eggnog, and use a wooden toothpick to give it a decorative swirl. Funny the things you remember. She was very big on tradition and it always looked pretty and tasted delicious. Of course, we children were not allowed even a spot of sherry, but all our visitors, from family to friends who were like family, always enjoyed a glass along with a slice of cake.
My sister and I helped Mum decorate each Christmas. This consisted of hanging glass globes on a small tree, with little slivers of silver paper ‘icicles’. The tree was enormous in our eyes, a Charlie Brown tree we would call it now. Kids don't see the size of a tree do they? We helped by blowing up colorful balloons which she hung from the ceiling, along with criss-crossed paper garlands, all attached with thumb tacks. When she accidentally popped a balloon, we would scream and giggle with delight. We used our child-power to blow up as many balloons as were needed. Quite a few popped every Christmas. Occasionally we would be sitting quietly and one would pop, but that was fun too and there were lots of spares at the ready.
Another tradition was to watch television and listen to services filmed at one of the famous cathedrals. It was always joyful to listen to those age-old Christmas Carols sung by Harry Secombe, always accompanied by the boys’ choir. He was a Welshman, quite famous and well known in Great Britain. Among his many talents he had an exceptional voice which we heard at those Christmas Services. He was a favorite of my Dad, who could also sing beautifully and play the piano. We had a lot of sing-songs growing up, and it is because of him that I not only developed my love of wildlife, but of opera too. He knew the words to many and it was my job to turn the pages of music as he played and sang. Back in those days we were still creating our own entertainment.
We decorated our home on Christmas Eve. Not sure if that was a general tradition or just our familys, but it was all taken down on 12th Night without fail. There is a lovely website that you can read here if you’re curious or want a refresher on how these traditions started.
As mentioned at the beginning of my post, the tree I share today is the one in our family room. For the first time ever I picked a theme, which seemed appropriate with all the activity that has been going on outside. I have a lot of bird ornaments, or angels, snowmen, Santa’s and others, all holding birds. There are also a few butterflies. With the angels, birds and butterflies, the theme is definitely to do with wings. I have a few to share today. Others will be shared later. They may be familiar as they have appeared during the lifetime of this blog. I like to take photos every year. It makes a good inventory for me as I see what I forgot and what still might be in a box somewhere.
If you click on the label "Christmas” at the bottom of this post, you'll see other years, new and old, along with all the activities. “Christmas Ornaments” will be for the most part, only of those, with the occasional addition if they are part of a theme. Some may be familiar because of a particular company making several of them.
I have collected ornaments for 40 plus years. I started in earnest when our son was born, starting with his First Christmas ornament. Getting a couple here and a couple there added up. I said to my dear other half, maybe it is time to stop collecting them now, and he quickly replied nope, you keep going. I do believe he enjoys seeing them as much as I do. Many have great sentimental value, many were gifts from Loved Ones who are no longer with us but lovingly remembered as we put their ornaments on the tree.
These are a few of the birds recently purchased in the collage below. Mother Nature holding the leafy birdbath was found in the summer. The birds are the kind that attach to a branch with a clip. You will recognize Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, top left and bottom, Mourning Dove middle left, Catbird top right, then the Blue Jay and Tufted Titmouse. All have been visitors to our garden at one time or another. I will share more ornaments as the month progresses.
I would love to know about your own traditions at this time of year, if you would like to share.
I appreciate very much you staying with me while I take another trip down memory lane. I seem to be doing that more and more on my blog lately.