Over the course of the week, I have finally succeeded in getting our Christmas tree up! Last Saturday, it got bought and brought home and put in the stand. I stalled on putting the lights on because Mark has a very specific way he likes them done, and I was hoping he would be inspired to do it himself, but this turned out to be a pretty busy week, so I ended up doing it on Thursday.
Mark’s way, for those who are curious and don’t already know, involves wrapping each individual branch of the tree in lights from the trunk out to the tip and back. This always takes forever, as you might imagine, but this year it was a particular challenge because our tree has some very… interesting branching patterns. The sub-branches appear to go in completely random directions, leading to sort of a twisty tree, rather than a classic orderly one. There was one sub-branch that actually grew backwards over its main branch, back past the trunk, and then out the other side of the tree. Needless to say, I didn’t actually wrap every single branch, but I must have done pretty well anyway, because I used up every strand of lights we owned.
Just the lights
By the time I was done with the lights, though, I couldn’t face doing anything else to the tree because I was already so tired. But it was a good thing I procrastinated the ornaments, because the next day I met my mom for some final shopping, and she had my childhood ornaments in boxes for me in the car!
Now with ornaments!
Our family has so many ornaments now, they won’t all fit on my parents’ tree, and they get a really big one. Surely having all my ornaments out of the set helps solve some of this problem! One of the reasons we had so many ornaments was because my dad’s sister, my aunt Janice, made every person in the family a new ornament every year. She was a brilliant needleworker, and loved needlepoint especially, so we got some truly gorgeous ornaments from her. Here are a few:
The Christmas Koala
Who doesn’t love a holiday marsupial?
Unicorn and violin
The violin is from the time when I played the cello, and I suspect it was one of the closest patterns she had to looking like a cello. I’m not actually sure who gave me the unicorn, but I love it.
The mailbox ornament isn’t the most sophisticated example of needlepoint, but I actually remember helping her put these together! Given that I was 4 at the time, I’m not sure how much help I really was, but I have very few clear memories that I know are from that age, so I think that’s pretty cool. I’m not sure if you can see, but they have little tiny packages inside them, too. And a little fake pearl for the handle to open the mailbox door, which will really open and close.
Dana House ornament and Santa stocking
The metal ornament there in the center isn’t a Janice ornament, I grant you, (though the Santa stocking on the left is,) but my brother and I also got a number of ornaments from my mom’s friend’s kids in Chicago (really, it was the moms sending things back and forth for each other’s kids, but the cards always said they were from the kids themselves.) Their family lives in Oak Park, so one year, or possibly two years, we got ornaments from the Frank Lloyd Wright museum. This one was deemed mine automatically, because it’s a design from the Dana House.
I’m so happy to have all my ornaments! Now the tree feels like a real Christmas tree.
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