Monday, November 9, 2009

A New Subject for the Holidays! Nov. 9, 2009

O.K. y'all, so this subject line has nothing whatsoever to do with royal weddings or flowers for royal weddings, but, I was getting a little stale with the royal weddings... you know, too much of a good thing...

So, for the next couple of months, I thought I would do some blogging about Christmas, in particular, one of the most loved and time honored of Christmas traditions... the Christmas Tree. I have been doing lots of reading on the web lately on the history of this custom. From Germany, or Lithuania, or Romania, or the Nordic countries... there is lots of speculation as to who decorated a Christmas tree first. Well, I will leave that up to the historians.

I think I will talk about my idea of the perfect Christmas tree. This idea to me is an amalgamation of the trees from my childhood and the trees I have decorated as an adult, and the experience of lots of holiday decorating while a part of the floral industry. So, I am a big lover of the vintage look in a tree and by vintage, I mean decorations from the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's ( not so much the '70's)

Also, I really do prefer a live tree. At one time in my childhood I thought that having an artificial tree was the sign that you had arrived and were well off financially. My grandparents had an artificial tree, and they were about the most financially well off people I knew at the time, so in my mind, the connection had been made. At one point as an adult, I let a doctor convince me that I was deathly allergic to fir and pine trees, which gave me the perfect justification to spend the money on an artificial tree... or an "arti" as me and my siblings one referred to the fake trees. But, after truly coming home in my late '30's, I devoted all my future Christmases to using a fresh tree, and in the past two years, a tree that we cut ourselves.

The picture featured tonight is mine and Stan's tree from 2008, it was a masterpiece, I thought. Lots of vintage ornaments I have collected over the years, big C7 or ceramic lights, bead garland, tinsel garland, bubble lights, lead icicles, and some really special things. The most precious of my possessions, a pink glass rose ornament given to me by my mother, and the tree top angel, which was my grandmothers... I cherish more than gold. The tree itself came from a local tree farm in the Low Country of SC near our home. We have really started to make a day of it by getting breakfast on the way off the island and listen to Christmas music on the CD player as we head about 30 miles into the country looking for our tree. I have seen many, many websites of tree farms recently and ours is a little bit different in that there is never any snow (often we have to wear short sleeves as mid-day temps here can still be quite warm, especially after hiking through the tree fields, then sawing down and dragging our tree back to the shed.

Last year, it took me about 7 hours from start to finish to complete the tree. Stan leaves me to it and does some baking while I am decorating... I do it all, put it in the stand, add the lights, then the garlands, then the ornaments, then the tree topper, then finish it all off with the icicles, or tinsel, whichever term you prefer.

As we go through the holiday season, I will be featuring some vintage Christmas tree pictures I have collected on the web. My apologies ahead of time if I am using any pics that I shouldn't. If there is anyone who objects, please leave a comment, and the pic will be removed at the next posting.

I hope everyone will enjoy the new topics of discussion for the next couple of months. I will heavily chronicle our tree hunt and the decorating process this year for everyone to see.

All right, so I couldn't get through a single post without a royal reference. Here is pic from the web of a post card from Victorian England. The scene is of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children... all princes and princesses, decorating their tree. It is thought by many that this post card ignited the general public's interest in Christmas trees and desire to immolate the royal family in all their customs and fashions. Prince Albert brought the tradition of a table top tree with candles, toys, fruits and candies for decorations... from his native Coburg, Germany. Thanks Prince Albert!

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