Thursday, December 29, 2011

Favourite Traditions - again, a little late

I'm a little boring. My Christmas traditions are pretty "standard" and normal. Lots of people probably have very similar ones. Your present opening system, Christmas Eve Chinese food, Christmas Eve Service, certain concerts, desserts (we have this one with vanilla pudding and mandarin oranges. To.Die.For), baking, baking, baking, Christmas mail, special music, etc.

But I think my favourite is decorating the Christmas tree. Again, not too original. I love that we are among the few with a real Christmas tree. We don't have a colour scheme, or specific decorating system,  but instead multi-coloured lights, popcorn chains, and a smattering of decorations from many different placing: one's my mom made for her and my dad's first Christmas, one's my sister made when she was 6, special gifts from people, decorations from around the world, and some new additions from the grandkids.

This year was a little different, because my brother wasn't home until the 15th of December, and I was housesitting until the 21st. So, it wasn't until a week before Christmas before that beautiful Evergreen made it's messy way into our house. Bonus to being the last ones to get a tree: Getting a $50 tree for $15!

I love decorating the tree, because it is so full of memories. When growing up, we each had our own decorations that we hung on the tree. My grandma always gave each of her grandchildren a new ornament every year, so we all had a few to put on. We each had our favourites, simply because of who made them, who gave them, or even how ugly they are. :)

Here are few of my favourite ornaments and memories:
This is a little fairy that was one of Grandma's "better" ornament years. She usually picks ornaments from Ten Thousand Villages, where she used to volunteer. Lately they have been her old decorations. I appreciate that I'll have a tree full when I get my own tree (many are already on my mini tree in my room)

These ones are just pretty.

This was my dad's special decoration. I don't think he really helped decorate the tree, except it was tradition that he'd put all the tinsel on at the very end. But, this was always left for him and he'd search the tree high and low to find the perfect branch in which this reindeer would "lay" just right.

This is one that us kids gave Mom after the first year of home-schooling (meaning I really had nothing to do with it and Dad bought the decoration). It was always the first one on the tree and was near the top.

This is a more recent addition from my Europe trip last year. We went to a Swedish glass factory in Sweden with hand made, blown glass . It's a new favourite.

Ah, these two are very special.
Left: Even my grandma has picked up on my cow obsession, thus buying me a Christmas ball at the thrift store that says "Have a Very Moo-ey Christmas!"
Right: This one is one of the uglier decorations we have and I had to rescue it from the garbage last year. It was one of my first decorations that I got. I think I was able to pick a gift after I got my hair cut (remember, like the rings at the dentist?...there was something similar at my hair dressers when I was like 5 years old). I thought this was to most beautiful thing every and was so proud of it. Now I hang it and have a little chuckle.
This is an interesting one - combo of a trombone and trumpet. :)  When my brother was younger (much younger) it was his favourite, and when he woke up on the morning, he'd always find this decoration, lay on the couch, and "play" his trumpet, or trombone, or whatever it is!

We used to have two of these. One was my sister's and one was my brother's. They used to make a very big deal about finding the perfect branch where there was a light behind the glass to make them shine so beautifully. I was very jealous that I didn't have one. Don't worry, now my brother doesn't care and I got to search for the special branch with the light. 

And there is our beautiful tree. Full of decorations and special memories.


  1. Love the commentary on the ornaments! Some of them sure looked familiar...

  2. That is incredibly special, Leanne. I loved reading all about it. Our tree used to look the same - a mishmash of memories that were very beautiful to us. With the fire, all that is gone and that is still very hard for me.
    I enjoyed your tree and the stories! =)