I’ve been admiring our Christmas tree over the last two days. It’s certainly not fancy or color-coordinated. But, it is filled with memories and the work of many hands.
Our ornaments fall into three groups: the funky ornaments my grandmother made, the German blown glass ornaments we bought before the children were born, and homemade ones.
This year we made red and yellow construction paper garlands, which you will see in the background of some of these photos. I also made a few tracing-paper snowflakes to hang with sparkly thread. Anthropapa made our tree topper–a gilded, wooden, four-pointed star–many years ago.
The glass ornaments reflect a time when Papa and I used our tree as an enormous Advent calendar. In the Waldorf tradition, each week of Advent corresponds with an earthly kingdom: mineral, plant, animal, human. Then at Christmas comes the spiritual world in the form of the star at the top. So we bought glass seashells, pinecones, a fish, frog, and birds, and even a Buddha!
This year, perhaps because this will be our first Christmas home without extended family, I have really enjoyed the ornaments that my grandmother made. She was a very crafty and artistic lady–a knitter, beader, sewer, singer, and pianist. Many of her creations were quite elaborate–my aunt has a beautiful beaded and sequined tree skirt Grandma made that shows all the items from the Twelve Days of Christmas.
In addition to their sentimental value, these ornaments just please me because they are so unabashedly sparkly and funky. Many of them reflect the style of their times (I assume the late 1960’s-70s).
(Please forgive my fairly inept photography skills.)
Grandma made several of this style, which we liken to the spaceship from Close Encounters. There’s a large red one that’s quite battered by now that we call the Mother Ship. I believe these are all made from styrofoam balls, wrapped in thread and then beads and sequins were pinned on, sometimes with added tassels. They remind me a bit of temari, with added bling.
We have about half a dozen of these Wise Man crowns. Or possibly boxes of frankincense and myrrh. Whatever, they’re fabulous!
A Wise Man. Even his beard is sparkly! And please note the liberal use of gold rickrack. Unfortunately we only have the one, so maybe he’s really a green Santa.
Grandma didn’t make this one, but it’s from my childhood nevertheless. Lovely 70’s painted wood. I never noticed the rather odd placement of the Christmas tree before! Reminds me a bit of Major T. J. Kong.
My fingers are itching to make up some beaded monstrosities of my own!