Oliver was coaxed onto Henry's shoulders so that he could reach the top of the tree and place the Angel. The amount of fighting on who got to do what before that was inordinate. Good God Almighty.
Here's the tree in all its magnificence. We're a white lights kind of family, and every year, The Husband Who Is From Switzerland remarks how ridiculously safety-conscious Americans are and how much more beautiful and superior the real candles that his family put on their tree every year were. I just say uh huh.
Here is a close-up of some of our decorations. When I was a girl, my mother began a tradition of giving me and my two sisters a special Christmas ornament each year. By the time we left home we had a box filled with ornaments for our own Christmas tree. I've continued the tradition with my own children and The Husband (who gives me one, too). It's wonderful to open up the ornaments every year and exclaim which are our favorites. This photo shows an owl in a clear globe that I received in 1971. There's also a tiny beaded knight on a red horse that I adore from 1974, tucked back into the branches. The white Adirondack chair commemorates our beloved Wawona Hotel in Yosemite, and Sophie, Henry and Oliver each have a felt elf just as my sisters, Melissa and Jennifer, and I had so many years ago.
Sophie watched the proceedings this year rather bleary-eyed as she had quite a few seizures today. She has her own box of ornaments, and while the boys tried hard to include her as they hung her mermaids and glass globes filled with sand and shells from La Jolla, a silly lady dressed in a fur coat and French beret, a tiny glass creche inside another globe, she was content to just sit and look at the lights, even her humming silenced. When Henry objected to the number of ornaments in Sophie's box, Oliver said, Duh. She's been alive for eighteen Christmases.
I couldn't help but be both grateful for those eighteen years and a tiny bit sad that her box would probably never go anywhere. Even traditions have a strange twist in these parts.
Reader, what are your tree-decorating traditions?
what would Christmastime be without siblings fighting?ReplyDelete
I, too, love to look at old ornaments and recall how I got them, and their significance. This year, my ex returned my ornaments to me, which I am very thankful for. I remember the toddler years, when most of my ornaments were made of fabric or metal, you know, unbreakable, and the small tree went up on a side table out of reach.
My parents also gave us an ornament each year and I too continued the tradition with my children. Now with the girls growing up and leaving home and taking their ornaments, my tree is becoming a little more sparse. My very first ornament is a beautiful little felt angel.ReplyDelete
We have a few nativity scenes and our tradition is not putting baby Jesus in until Christmas Eve and the other tradition passed down from my mom is that the kids and now grandchildren get new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Oh and also, since the girls were little I read 'The Night Before Christmas' from a copy of my grandmothers. You should see the crew now these days. We all pile into the youngest child's bedroom, turn out the light and light candles or use a booklight, and I read to the room full of kids and adults. That tradition I really cherish.
Tree looks beautiful by the way.
I love your reading tradition -- might have to institute it here! We do have a box full of Christmas storybooks that we pull down every year and try to read one every night in Sophie's room.Delete
The canoe and the baby shoe are my favorite ornaments and don't know why. I have many beautiful old vintage colored balls I got at a Goodwill once for next to nothing and I love those too. I've given many to the children.ReplyDelete
And of course there is the Buddha in the nativity because we were all babies once and all of us are divine in some way.
The husband is of course right. Greetz from Germany, M.ReplyDelete
oh. love this. so perfect. i'm thinking of you, and helping to decorate your tree, virtually! i just put this up. http://notesfromspiceisland.blogspot.com/2012/12/for-sophie.htmlReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I hope everyone visits your blog and sees what an amazing doctor you are becoming.Delete
My mom gave us all a new ornament every year, too. And Bubba and I started a tradition of getting an ornament from each place we visited as we traveled so that when we decorate the tree we can remember past vacations. The girls each get a new one every year and they love decorating the tree however they see fit.ReplyDelete
My favorite ornaments are the ones made by my brother-in-law for Margaret Furlong designs. He died on Thanksgiving nearly 10 years ago and I still cry every time I pull those gorgeous creatures out of the box.
We had those same elves!!ReplyDelete
In our house we listen to Amy Grant Rocking Around the Christmas Tree while I hand out ornaments to the kids and Gary and they all decorate the tree. I have ornaments from when I was a kid. My favorite is a tiny tousled string haired angel with a bell for a body. We don't get real trees, they don't last long here, as they are usually shipped from far away. So we have a skinny fake tree with built in lights and one section doesn't work so I add a string of lights. Still the kids love it just the same. We top the tree with a star I made when I was a new mama. And now you are inspiring me to take some photos... :)
We also have a box of Christmas and winter books that we pull out.
A gorgeous tree. I love your new ornaments hung from the silver brances, too.ReplyDelete
I left all the ornaments at Mr. Ex's house. I've done live flowers mostly since then. This year it's my mom's crocheted snowfalkes that I used hang in the windows.
We are a colorful lights kind of family, with lots of baubles and gold and silver bells and saved kindergarten-made ornaments and everything shiny and bright and nothing particularly sophisticated. my husband and i, when we were first married and woolworth's still existed, used to joke about our woolworth's tree, because we had bought all our ornaments from there for our first tree as a married couple (which was also my first tree as a grown up). of course i never had a tree till i married this man! the tree is primarily his undertaking, and it makes me so happy that he does it he can have whatever kind of tree he wants!ReplyDelete
your tree, my lady, is gorgeous. i love imagining the men's competitive engagement in getting it done. and sophie looking on, transfixed and still. you have a very precious and wonderful family.
oh, elizabeth, what a family you have and how strong you are to hold it all together, to protect the rituals, to show by doing the importance of gathering around. it is so lovely and warm and ...civilized.ReplyDelete
i've never really managed to do it the same from year to year; the only constant is great food--but that changes every year--and the phil spector christmas album.
mostly we have fun; we usually go to a movie, because that's what you do in NYC....up here in Maine, we go for a long, cold walk on the beach, and then get to the food part with a serious appetite.
The tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. That's how it was in my house growing up, and I try to stick with it in my home.ReplyDelete
This year I put up all the decorations...sort of a dare to the universe. After spending the past 2 years in the hospital through the Christmas season, I'm declaring that we should be home this year.
Ever since we were old enough to put a decoration on a tree we all got together to decorate my mom and dad's tree. When we grew up and moved out we still made sure we got together to decorate. Even though we couldn't always spend Christmas together we *always* did the tree together. Last year after my mom died we didn't do anything. It looks like this year we won't be either. It makes me sad that we aren't doing it anymore but it makes me more sad to think about getting together without my mom here.ReplyDelete
my husband is very un-american, so our tree has danish flags all over it (and the obligatory white lights - I grew up with multi colored lights and dearly miss them)ReplyDelete
Blogger just ate my comment again! WTF?!ReplyDelete
Anyway, as I was saying, your tree is nice-looking and I love that there was arguing. It wouldn't be Christmas without arguing!
We usually don't get a tree -- I got one last year at the last minute but this year we'll be traveling. Even in the states I rarely had one.
I ran into Katie's box of Christmas ornaments the other day. I know.ReplyDelete