I love Christmas.
But (there is always a “but”)
One of my least favourite things about it is that, in the outside world, it seems to start immediately after Halloween, and by the time the actual day arrives, you’re sick to the back teeth of the cheesy music and decorations.
When we were growing up, and still now in fact (our parents would dispute whether we ever actually grew up, and we would possibly dispute whether they had either,) our family put up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. The warm sparkly Christmas feelings started the day before Christmas, and lasted until we took down the tree on Twelfth Night. That’s just about two weeks of concentrated Christmassyness, in stark contrast to the commercial world’s idea of spending as much time as possible leading up to the big day (buy more things, buy more things!)
I still have the same exciting Christmassy feeling from opening up the old chocolate boxes and whisky tins of decorations now, that I did when I was five. That’s Christmas magic that you can’t beat, and you certainly can’t buy (whatever the shops tell you.)
However, this year, my little flat is going to be alone for Christmas: in one week my suitcase will be packed (ha, fat chance of that) and my passport will be safely in my bag (I really hope I haven’t just jinxed that!) So my flat needs a bit of festive cheer to keep it company. And I’ve never had my very own Christmas tree before.
I’ve been picking up odd Christmas decorations here and there over time, I’m not one for a posh, organised, co-ordinated tree. Our tree at home will be covered (come Christmas Eve) with random decorations that my parents picked up, each one with its own little story (and
most some with no apparent link to the Christmas theme – fish, slippers, motorbike and sidecar…)
So, a bit like my flat (and, in fact, my life) my tree is made up of bits and bobs and memories picked up in odd corners. Dreams and trainsmoke. (Oh dear, I’ve gone purple: I’d better head back onto the track!)
My little flat doesn’t have room for a proper tree, so I have a few branches of Douglas fir, and, to hold them upright, a brick with some holes in, wrapped with white tissue paper to make it look a bit less like it was found round the back of a shed (which it was.)
Not too bad, although if you look closely (or you’re a tree surgeon,) you might be able to spot that one of the branches came from a different tree to the others. Ssshh, no-one can tell!
So, for the sparkly bit :)
These I picked up in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, they’re “bescheiß” as they’d say here, which is to say, faked, not really old, but they add a nice bit of vintage warmth to my tree.
I can’t for the life of me remember where I found these, although it was probably a fair-trade shop, maybe Oxfam. I love the gorgeous patterns.
This trilogy came from a Christmas market (Strasbourg, although I have a feeling the Father Christmas might have come from one in a different town.) I love that carol singer singer his / her heart out, and the little elfy is so cute!
These came from the Bremgarten Christmas market, we watched the glass blower who had made them make the most amazing decorations: amazing baubles and some beautiful (although pretty pricey) bells. There was a whole pile of these icicles on the table, it took me ages to pick out just a few!
From a different glass-blower in a different Christmas market, possibly Basel. I have three of these (you might start to spot a pattern – I always try to get a few things in a similar design, that way something small doesn’t get lost in the Christmas tree clutter!) And the blue bauble in the background is one of a few that came from a brocki a month or so ago.
The star on the top is the remains of a semi-failed experiment in beeswax-coated paper. It semi-failed because although the effect was lovely, it was going to take far too long to do what I wanted to do. But it worked for a couple of paper stars.
Well, I don’t have any Christmas tree lights, and even if I did I think they’d rather overwhelm my little branch-tree. But I have a simple tall white candle which is enough for me for now.
In other Christmas decoration news, here are some more paper stars. Although they might become a permanent feature of my living room. I love a bit of whimsy about the place
I have also been hard at work making Christmas presents, although I’m not about to post them here and give the game away!