How Our Christmas Tree Evolved

Christmas Tree 2013

Christmas Tree 2013

          (Donna is taking over Greta’s blog today).

          Once upon a time, when we chose the first Christmas tree of our marriage, I decided to decorate it in blue and gold.  It would be trendy, elegant.  It would look like the trees decked out by professionals,  perfect in its harmony of colors.

          I bought blue and gold balls.  Many of them are still around.  One box still bears a Woolworth’s price tag, a dozen blue balls for $1.79.  We couldn’t afford to throw out the bulbs that came with the strings of light, so there were some red and green bulbs.  I put them in obscure areas, so the lights  looked mostly blue and gold.  It worked. The tree looked semi-professional.

 If we lit the room with the tree lights only, the furniture also looked a lot better.  The room had a soft blue and gold glow.

          We kept the blue and gold theme through the first baby, Renee, and the second baby, Diana.  Then a craft-oriented friend made two white foam ornaments featuring our daughters.  Renee’s six-year-old face peered out from a snapshot surrounded by gilt and Diana’s two-year-old face peered out from a similarly decorated ball.  The ornaments were wrapped with red ribbons, held in place by colored push pins.  They weren’t blue and gold.  But they had to go on the tree.

          Our daughters’  aunt gave them a set of paint-your-own wooden ornaments.  When the young artists finished, a blonde angel blew an enormous blue trumpet.  A drummer was dazzling with glitter across his red chest. A camel had a green saddle blanket.  They went on the tree, in places of honor.

          Other ornaments happened along.  There was the delicately spun clear glass miniature sailboat Ron bought from a glassblower in Japan, and the rooster we bought from the Christmas shop in Manteo when we vacationed on the Outer Banks.  That was the year we took the girls to “The Lost Colony” pageant, and the sound of the guns frightened them.

  Diana made the red Christmas ball with a big glittery “D” in Brownies.  She sold lots of Girl Scout cookies, because she was an irresistibly cute Brownie.  Someone gave Ron a big tan beeswax ornament, in honor of his beekeeping hobby.  They had to be added.  They gave the tree meaning.

          Years zipped along.  Renee’s daughter and son grew out of babyhood and learned to make candy canes of twisted colored pipe cleaners.  They made sparkly plastic stars and Santa faces on spools, and gave the ornaments they made to their grandparents.  A friend gave us a red jingle bell with Ron’s  name painted on it.  We bought a drummer boy in a Christmas shop on a trip to Germany.  Renee gave us a red doghouse ornament she received in for a donation to her local animal shelter, inscribed in memory of Vulcan, our German shepherd/collie.  A few years later, she gave us another red doghouse with a dog in it, in memory of  Angel, our Labrador retriever/German short-haired pointer mix.   All went on the tree.

          Christmas, 2006.  Ron was very sick, too weak to help with the tree.  But he was able to put up the train garden he loved, and make the train run backwards for his grandchildren, one last time.  The fence was a little crooked, because the brain tumor had affected his vision.  We didn’t straighten it.

          Now, seven years later, ‘Tis the season, once again. I brought the ornaments down from the attic last week.  I put the  pipe cleaners, the drummer boy and angel, the foam ornaments and the similar decorations acquired over the years on the tree first.  It took a long time, because  they deserved the right placement.

          Then I opened the boxes of blue and gold glass balls.  Didn’t take long to put them on.  They’re nothing but ornaments.

(c) 2013 by Donna Engle

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