Tuesday, November 27, 2018


     This is not a bicycling post, unless you spin it that I'm working on decorating my tree rather than riding the bike.  But I want to explain my tree since it is more than just putting on ornaments.
     For instance, a large section of ornaments is dedicated to our travels.   We pick up one for each trip.  When we did the Christmas Rhine tour we came home with multiples.  Speaking of Germany, we also have a Bride's Tree Collection.  According to an old German tradition, the tree of a newlywed couple should include these twelve ornaments to insure blessing and happiness for their life together.  In addition, they are small and perfect for the top area.

      Each of our kids, spouses, grandchildren and great grand kids have an ornament with their name on it, as do Marilane and I.   They are arranged on the tree loosely like a family tree, and is now rivaling the travel section in terms of space.  Styles change over the fifty years we've been doing this, so, just like the kids themselves, the ornaments are different.

     For our first Christmas as a couple, we bought three dozen balls, twelve each red, blue, and green.  Over the years, spending too many summers in the attic (which we no longer do), the red and blue faded a bit but the green turned a sickly yellow.  But they still decorate the tree.  Lately I've taken to grouping them in threes on the bottom of the tree.  Also on that first Christmas together, our college friends Tommy and Karen fashioned an ornament out of string for us.  It has graced our tree each year.

     We went through a period where Marilane would purchase a Waterford ornament each year after Christmas when they went on sale.  Including the Waterford we picked up on our Ireland trip, we have twenty-two.  After the top section, these are placed first.  This year I've whimsically placed together those bells which actually tinkle.
     Also we have a Judy Peterson collection.  Judy taught with Marilane and was a good friend.  She did multiple trees, one of which was a Victorian tree.  Judy died of cancer and three of her ornaments were given to Marilane as a remembrance.  She also was a baseball fanatic and loved going to the Round Rock Express and trying to explain the game to Marilane.  She gave us a baseball ornament one year.

     I start decorating at the top.  Back when we were doing twelve foot or more trees I had to crowd into the branches with the ladder in order to reach it.  So the first ornament is the angel.  We have the tree topper plus two other capiz angels, a cross, and a star.  The angels are arranged in a spiral toward the top.  Of course, with only two that takes a leap of faith.  The cross also lands a prominent position mainly because with it's size, any place becomes prominent.  Of course, the number one ornament is Madonna and Child.  This is always at eye level so anyone approaching the tree will see it first.
     My sister sends me quilted balls each year.  Or, more precisely, she quilts the fabric then fits it to styrofoam balls.  That worked for the real trees, but when we went to artificial they were too heavy for the branches unless I hid them toward the trunk.  I'm working on a DIY fix, but until then, they are displayed by themselves. As of this writing there are thirteen.
     I have a spread sheet with all of the ornaments listed, description, and when we got them, either purchase or gift and from whom.  I'm showing 319 ornaments, including a few minuses when they broke.  Every gifted ornament is on the tree.  I especially like the hand-made ones our granddaughter made a few years back.  When the kids were little they had a Fisher-Price barn.  In 2008 Marilane came across an ornament, complete with the cow noise when you open the door.  A friend gave me a John Deere Tractor ornament the year we got a real one to mow the grass.
     Our tree is more than a decoration.  It is filled with memories that are renewed each year.