Sunday, December 4, 2022

Our Christmas Tree - 2022

 The house is decorated and "it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas." The focal point of our decorating is the tree. This year we opted to purchase a brand new, artificial tree from the National Tree Company. It is well-made, symmetrical and pleasing to the eye. Unlike my home, growing up, we do not use tinsel or garland or even bows. We string lights and add ornaments, each one unique, that we have collected. I enjoy remembering the circumstances in which I made them or bought them or received them as gifts. Some of them are the result of skilled artisans hands, my friends who are artists, quilters or cross-stitchers.

The other day, as I was sitting in my den hand-quilting a queen size, wholecloth quilt, I was listening to music. One of the songs has lyrics that question who will know the meaning of the ornaments on his tree and treasure them as he does when he is no longer here. The thought struck me as rather poignant and it hit home. Who, indeed, will know the names of my friends who made some of the ornaments or how or why they were given to me? As I think of old friends, some now passed away, as I hold the tangible work of their hands, I am brought back to other times in the past, good times of shared camaraderie.

I love Christmas ornaments, it is true! Each one is a work of art in miniature. On my tree are two nutcrackers, each different, made in Germany and sent by my sister when she lived there. She made me an ornament of a tiny wooden spoon tied with a bow, and sent me a polar bear ornament from the Smithsonian, as well as some others, one of which is a red metal heart with an overlay that simply says, "Merry Christmas." With her gone now, these are among some of the treasures she left behind.

There is the folded paper star, made by my daughter-in-law in the Danish style she knows so well! There are many cloth ornaments, some composite ones denoting Santa Claus. I made a Saguaro cactus that is blooming, out of felt and small, artificial blossoms. There is a face sculpted to look like "Granny" with her white hair and folded paper structures, an oven and a church, sent by a friend from Vermont to thank me for being a quilt judge at a quilt show she was assisting. Teddy Bears, in small form, adorn the tree, as well as a few ornaments that come from my family of origin. I could go on and on about the collection but I'd have to write an essay that is longer than you would want to take the time to read!

No tree would be complete without a German pickle ornament! There is a legend that goes along with it that I can't quite remember without looking it up! It has to do with the first person to spot the ornament among the branches. Either he/she will have good luck or will be the first to open presents. Getting older is a challenge sometimes when details are lost and have to be re-visited!

On top of the tree is an angel whose hymnal she holds in front of her light up with the words "Joy to the World." She runs by battery and is a piece I bought from Avon when I was a sales representative for the company. And, of course, I made a tree skirt that is Crazy-Quilted and has large hearts, each decorated with Christmas fabrics of skaters, holly, etc. and "fancy" embroidery stitches.

In the photo above, the item on the left that competes for attention is a Christmas cactus that is more than 25 years old. So far this year, only a section of it has bloomed. To the right of the picture is another Christmas cactus that is a little older than the first and that one has only bloomed once in about six years with only two blossoms! Not sure why it's decided to quit blooming!

With all of the Christmas cards mailed, all of the gifts bought, and plans underway for making Stollen and other special holiday foods, we are in great shape this year. We will be happy to greet old friends and enjoy holiday meals with some of them. Here is wishing you a lovely St. Nicholas Day on December 6, (if you live in Germany), and a very Happy Holiday Season otherwise.

Patricia Cummings

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