My tree is the Tree of Christmas Past. As I put all the ornaments on it, I am going through the decades from the 1890s to the present time, hanging up all my “old friends” and hearing my parents’ voices commenting on each item.
There are oh-so-fragile blown glass items (ca. 1890-1920) that are pure fantasy: a frog on a leaf; a butterfly on a yellow maple leaf; a butterfly from Japan (ca. 1953) that is a thinly disguised “Zero” divebomber, with concentric circles on its wings. there are two long silk ornaments that are from Japan (ca. 1956). There is a flower basket, a drum and a “Renaissance” nativity made (by a friend of Grandma Hoffmann) of styrofoam and cut up Christmas cards. And then there are the hand-painted tin Christmas nativity figures from Mexico (ca. 1971).
There are gold metallic “lace” ornaments and adorable painted wooden children/angels from Germany (ca. 1963). And a hand-made wooden “swing” with two crude figures in it (from the Chicago Turnverein, ca. 1914). The top star is from a Brazilian-Jewish friend (ca. 1993). (In case you’re wondering: those are pillows stuffed between the tops of the bedroom walls and the ceiling: some arcane NYC loft law there).
And there are the paper Hansel and Gretel figures that once adorned gingerbread cookies (ca. 1975), and a Father Christmas from the same era. The solid glass balls and the “see-through” striped glass balls and bells are from the 1930s and ’40s: my brother’s time to buy decorations, before I was born.
And then I have “noche buena” or “Poinsettia” plants in place for the finishing touch. The plant on the dining room table is fronted by two “alabaster” birds that my mom cherished. I’ve put them out for her.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and BEST OF EVERYTHING in 2014 to you and yours!