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How lovely are thy branches

Posted Dec 12 2012 11:00am
 Oliver was coaxed onto Henry's shoulders so that he could reach the top of the tree and place the Angel. The amount of fighting on who got to do what before that was inordinate. Good God Almighty.

 Here's the tree in all its magnificence. We're a white lights kind of family, and every year, The Husband Who Is From Switzerland remarks how ridiculously safety-conscious Americans are and how much more beautiful and superior the real candles that his family put on their tree every year were. I just say uh huh.

Here is a close-up of some of our decorations. When I was a girl, my mother began a tradition of giving me and my two sisters a special Christmas ornament each year. By the time we left home we had a box filled with ornaments for our own Christmas tree. I've continued the tradition with my own children and The Husband (who gives me one, too). It's wonderful to open up the ornaments every year and exclaim which are our favorites. This photo shows an owl  in a clear globe that I received in 1971. There's also a tiny beaded knight on a red horse that I adore from 1974, tucked back into the branches. The white Adirondack chair commemorates our beloved Wawona Hotel in Yosemite, and Sophie, Henry and Oliver each have a felt elf just as my sisters, Melissa and Jennifer, and I had so many years ago.

Sophie watched the proceedings this year rather bleary-eyed as she had quite a few seizures today. She has her own box of ornaments, and while the boys tried hard to include her as they hung her mermaids and glass globes filled with sand and shells from La Jolla, a silly lady dressed in a fur coat and French beret, a tiny glass creche inside another globe, she was content to just sit and look at the lights, even her humming silenced. When Henry objected to the number of ornaments in Sophie's box, Oliver said, Duh. She's been alive for eighteen Christmases. I couldn't help but be both grateful for those eighteen years and a tiny bit sad that her box would probably never go anywhere. Even traditions have a strange twist in these parts.

Reader, what are your tree-decorating traditions?

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