As you enter our house, there is a small mudroom. The floor is raised slightly above the adjoining living room and, on the left, there is an alcove with one large, single window that opens onto the road leading up to our house. It’s the first thing visitors see as they arrive.
If you come in December, it will also smell like pine. It’s the first place in our house where you’ll find a Christmas tree. It’s not the only one.
I’ve collected Christmas ornaments since I was a girl. It’s my tactile memory keeping project where each ornament connects back to a memory or significant event from my past. Each tree lets me explore those memories further.
This entryway tree used to be the one my girls decorated when they were younger. It wasn’t an attempt to engage them and allow them personal expression. It was far more selfish. I didn’t want them touching my tree. I invested fully in the ruse, picking out ornaments that matched their passions at the time. I still have two bins worth of ornaments hoping to find a new home some day with the grandchildren.
They grew up and had less interest in the tree. I enticed them back one year with an elaborate music themed tree. We spent weeks creating album cover ornaments and decorating old CDs with song lyrics which we hung from the branches. I even created a Chistmas star out of an old record album. I heated it with my hot gun and cut it out in the shape of a star to which I glued fringe along the edges. We used it one year. I still have the ornaments in storage. I look at them each year before boxing them up and putting them away for another time.
Eventually, I they lost interest and it became another one of my trees. As I thought about how I wanted to use this newfound space, I knew almost immediately. I moved the long, lean blown glass reproduction of the Seattle Space Needle bought when spending a month with friends in Washington one summer and the brightly painted miniature rooster pitcher that I’d bought on my honeymoon to the tree and it become our travel tree.
I was able to highlight those unique and special items that I had collected over the years both a statement on each place I had been lucky enough to visit as well as a guide to my various levels of taste. Some of my earlier ornaments were like finding a pair of bell bottom pants in your drawer. You don’t want to admit you loved them once upon a time. I’m talking about you, my cookie dough Santa at the slot machine.
My main tree is displayed proudly in our living room only five feet from our travel tree. It has the other ornaments collected not during travel but through the years. Many have personal significance.
My small, white blown glass elephant with amber ears and a trunk blackened from age is always handled with the utmost care. It was my grandmothers and is irreplaceable. It always sits on one of the high branches next to my Christopher Radko blown glass ornament of George Bailey holding a wreath. Each of my ornaments tells a story to me.
In addition to these more classic trees, I also show my fandoms some love. I buy a small tabletop tree. It fits perfectly in one of the corners near my kitchen table. I fill it up with blown glass daleks and tardises and other Doctor Who inspired decor including a weeping angel tree topper. I’ve expanded and also have some ornaments to represent Supernatural and Sherlock creating my own little SuperWhoLock tree.
I have fake trees too. Not the plastic kind. I rescued a silver aluminum pom pom tree from a local antique store when I first moved to Maine. I love assembling it each year. With it’s meticulously spaced silver tinsel branches, it’s the perfect tree to display the antique ornaments that my husband and I inherited from our respective grandparents. They sparkle against the silver branches in front of our larger picture window in the kitchen which is always bathed in warm sunlight even in December.
I have another silver pom pom tree given to me by a childhood neighbor. I might retire it this year. Or maybe not. I’m trying to find the right spot. I spent months putting together picture ornaments of my family. It is a living, breathing memory-keeping project with pictures of each generation through the years. Even if the tree goes I’ll keep the ornaments. Eventually, I’ll find another tree worthy of such memories.
Five trees is probably enough but I’m not sure. I have ornaments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin off series Angel that my husband gave me as gifts during Valentine’s Day. They’re displayed in a small, metal tree stand from Crate and Barrel. It’s a beautiful stand but not the look I want for for these ornaments. Maybe a red feather tree?
There’s always room for one more tree. You can never have enough Yuletide cheer.
Why does this bring me bliss? Each year when I decorate the trees, it’s like a walk down memory lane as I remember the meaning and significance of each ornament. It makes me smile and brings me back in time. Collecting ornaments brings me bliss.
Do you put up a Christmas tree or decorate for other holidays? What is your favorite decoration?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.