Once Upon a Time in the West: the new tradition

We have a tree this year, the first one in almost *thirty years, because it was free!  We chose a lacy looking Cedar from the Mountain Farmlet.   The tree is a natural shape which means that it is a bit sparse in places, but that’s OK, we think it looks traditional or old-fashioned.

Setting it up the day after cutting it down, we decorated it and pronounced it lovely.    Later that night we went to bed and when just falling asleep, we were awakened by a terrible crashing and tinkling; the tree had fallen!

Jumping out of bed we went in to clean up the broken glass and mop up the two quarts of water that was now pooled onto the floor.  The little tree’s trunk is just too small for the stand.  Now this is our little secret, to protect the tree from falling again, I have tied a bit of thin, black ribbon to the top of the trunk and up to the massive curtain rod above.  You won’t even notice it unless you are looking for it.


When I was growing up I often liked to be alone which wasn’t so easy with three younger siblings.  However, from time to time I managed it, and sometimes right in the thick of it!  The day after Christmas of 1966 was just such an occasion.

Carefully sliding between the wall and the Christmas tree I got myself into the corner.   The space was just big enough for me, and sitting in my pine scented privacy I began to examine the collection of ornaments placed onto the back of the tree.

You know the ones.  They are the ancients.   The relics of Christmas past.  Those who’s mercury glass has begun to bubble and fall off on the inside, and although they have lost their glitter they are the ones you keep, because they have the most memory attached to them.  Perhaps they are from a friend or a relative long passed, or a gift in honor of baby’s first Christmas.  They’re the ones that get hung where only you can see them, because you know they are there.

Sitting alone behind the tree I looked at the one ornament that had survived from my first Christmas, and suddenly had an idea!  Quietly and carefully I extracted myself from my hiding place. I went about the house and collected some paper, a pencil, and scissors, and returning to my secret space I set to work.

Knowing that on any Christmas in our family an ornament or two will perish I thought it would be fun to put a little memory inside.  A surprise for the person who’d broken it.   Something to make them smile!  Messages written, I carefully removed the little cap hangers.  Rolling the messages tightly, I slid them down through the tiny openings.  Then, replacing their caps, I hung them back onto the tree.

Sadly, I never heard back from anyone about the messages in the ornaments, but I remember **the one I wrote to myself:

I’m sitting alone behind the tree watching the sun going down.  It reminds me of my favorite song, “Red Rubber Ball”.  Christmas 1966.

The message is inside my first ornament, and amazingly it didn’t get broken when the tree fell this year, nor did Bob’s!  I will be reviving my tradition in honor of our first tree in so many years, and also the fact that our childhood ornaments remain unbroken.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s Bob’s on the left and mine on the right.

Merry Christmas!


Do you have a special holiday tradition?



*We gave up the tradition of a Christmas tree when they began to cost the better part of $100.  That first Christmas without one was hilarious!  My niece came in, looked around the room, and then  proceeded to go from room to room looking for something.  Finally she turned to me and stomping her foot down, crossed her arms demanding to know:

“Where’s your Christmas tree?”

To which I countered:

“Which would you rather have?  A Christmas tree, or presents?”

Her response was presents of course. 😉


**Yeah, I know, my message wasn’t really meaningful, but hey, I was thirteen at the time.  😀

Here is the Cyrkle’s Red Rubber Ball  :