I know from emails and Facebook status updates that lots of people purchased, set up and decorated their Christmas trees this past weekend. We bought ours last week, in fact, but we won’t be putting it up until the end of this week for a couple of reasons. One is our wood stove, which dries out a tree faster than you can say Merry Christmas. The other is that Hannah begged us to wait for her to get home.
I don’t mind waiting, though, because we have this beautiful jeweled Christmas tree to enjoy in the meantime.
My mom started this tree when I was around 10, I think. She scoured flea markets and yard sales and thrift shops for months, purchasing only very special earrings and pins to use as the decorations. After she amassed her collection she cut off the backs of the pieces and filed them smooth. In the meantime my dad cut out the background plywood and shape of the tree and my mom glued white and green velvet on those pieces respectively.
And then the fun began. She set up the velvet covered tree on the dining room table and laid out all that jewelry beside it. My brothers, my mom and dad, even my grandparents, all took part adding and subtracting and rearranging that jewelry until we got it just right. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and everyone in the family seemed to have an opinion on the placement of the pieces. I can still remember the debate over whether to put those green pieces on the trunk of the tree. And I remember when my mom went to her own jewelery box and got that big round pin that it’s in the center of the tree and decided to sacrifice it for the project.
When I was a kid those intertwined pinkish hearts were my favorite. These days, though, I keep looking at it and seeing new favorites and thinking about what a fun and satisfying project this was. My mom was so proud of it and it always hung over the piano in our living room – which was especially nice for me since I was the only one who played the piano and I loved looking at it while I practiced.
It’s hanging in my dining room this holiday season and it’s the first year I’ve ever hung it in my own home. It has brought back such great memories of my family and especially my mom.
Oh Christmas Tree, indeed.