Wednesday, December 23, 2015

From Strings of Popcorn to Baubles and Beads

     Clara’s head jerked up as Gabriel plunked a scraggly spruce just inside the door of the bedroom. “What is that?”
     He flashed a grin as he knelt to tack a makeshift stand onto the trunk. “Surely you’ve seen a
Christmas tree before.”
     “Yes, but it looked nothing like that.”
     “Don’t be so quick to judge. There’s potential.” He glanced at his brother. “Remember that year Pa was away? We didn’t want to wait, so we went out ourselves. You must have been six or seven, and me maybe ten. I still remember the look on Mama’s face.”
    Probably because you saw it again when you hauled this tree past her. Clara bit her tongue.
    With no reply from Lawrence, Gabriel stood the tree upright and left. A few minutes later, he returned with a handful of nuts, a single candle, some string and clusters of crimson berries that he began to distribute amongst the branches.
     “Are those rosehips?”
     “We needed something to brighten this room.”

~Excerpt from I Heard the Bells, included in the anthology, A Bit Of Christmas~

'Tis the season, and many are rushing to set up their Christmas trees if they haven't already had them set up for the last month...or two (you know who you are). Live or artificial? Green or white? Topped
with a star, a angel...or something else?

In North America Christmas trees have only been a "thing" since about the 1830s. Still, from what I can tell, bringing a full tree into one's home was slow to take until 1848, when Prince Albert had one set up at Windsor Castle. The print of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria and their family around the tree appeared in the Illustrated London News. The fashion spread fast and by the 1850s Christmas trees had become a staple for the celebration of Christmas.

Christmas trees were at first decorated by what was available: nuts, strings of popcorn, fruit, dried fruit, candies and homemade trinkets. Then newspapers and magazines began to set the bar, offering ideas that soon made people want to set aside homey ornaments for sophisticated and uniform ones. Soon businesses stepped in, providing glittery baubles, wax figurines, and tin shapes in abundance, importing many from Germany.

This year, I decided to have fun with the kids and go back to homemade
ornaments. From paper chains, to cooked dough shapes. We also included little pictures of Christ...though I didn't necessarily make them, just poked a hole through the card-stock. :) We'll add the Popcorn chains tomorrow as I didn't think they would last very long around young children.

Maybe not the prettiest thing to look at, but we've been having fun. And that is one of the best parts about Christmas. 

I wish you all a merry Christmas and all the best in the new year! 

What did you decorate your tree with this year? Do you have a favorite homemade decoration?


  1. My tree is very simple this year. White miniature lights and deep red and burgundy balls. I love to add ornaments that I have used in years past but I downsized because of my 21 month old granddaughter. Next year....

    1. Yep, that age can make it interesting to even have a Christmas tree. My youngest is just learning to crawl now, so that will be next year. :) Your tree still sounds lovely, though. Have a great Christmas!