My very favourite part of Christmas is putting up the tree. I have always loved Christmas trees and I was always excited to see the finished tree when I was a little girl.
I remember my dad driving us all in to the city to see the decorations and the lights, but to me the large, very large outdoor trees were the most wonderful sight.
They were strung with lights and maybe a sprinkle of real snow and I was instantly captivated.
George Square in Glasgow, Scotland was just magical at Christmas.
When I got married and was choosing my own Christmas tree I tried to pick the biggest, bushiest, prettiest one I could find, tie it on to the roof of the car … or when we had a station-wagon squeeze it inside the car and all you could see were my two little girls heads peeking through the branches.
I was always excited to bring home the tree. My husband was always annoyed as he had to cut a bit off the bottom to get it just the right size … up to the ceiling.
Then comes the ritual of deciding which side is the prettiest, putting the lights on and then finally decorating the tree with the many, many ornaments and decorations I have collected for forty years.
This is quite an emotional few days for me as I fondly remember the history of these ornaments. Many were given to me by my students. Many were made by my daughters or friends. They are all very special.
Every Christmas I would take my daughters into town and they would each choose a new ornament, and one for dad and I, and we would add them to our collection.
I also have a few boxes of really old glass ornaments which were my grandmothers, and my mothers. These came from Europe, from Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Italy. They are very delicate and beautiful, and they hang side by side with the lovely hand made ornaments made by the children.
We have Mickey Mouse from Disney World, and a glittery octopus from the aquarium, side by side with crystal stars and golden glass spheres.
The very last ornament to go on the tree is a homemade star made of shiny silver and blue twisted paper. I made it when I was pregnant with my first baby. It still sits on top of my tree as a beacon of hope. Our baby arrived just 4 weeks later.
My decorated tree is much smaller now … I don’t do up to the ceiling anymore but it is still a kaleidiscope of shiny bright colorful ornaments and lights, and a feast for the eyes.
Some might say it is messy and not very organized, but to me it is my family’s past and future.
I buy an ornament now for each of my grandchildren, but my daughters have been suggesting that we don’t need more Christmas ornaments … “Mum we have enough.”
I guess I am more sentimental about tradition than the younger generation.
I am still going to buy an ornament for my daughters and their children, and they will hang on my tree as usual … I keep my daughter’s, and the children’s, ornaments packed in separate boxes carefully wrapped in tissue paper and the box labeled with their names Maybe one day when they are older they will open these boxes when I am no longer here and realise the value and the love that surrounds them
To me they are a beautiful reminder of past Christmas and I am reminded of my mother and grandmother who carefully hung them on their trees.
Now my family and my grandchildren have been doing this same ritual in my home every Christmas too.
We need to hang on to our traditions and bring the past with us as we make new ones to pass on to our families.
This year my unadorned tree is waiting for me to begin to decorate it and turn it into a beautiful Christmas tree. I will string up the lights today and open the boxes, and go bring my grandchildren in to help me with the transformation.
I hope you and your family have a very blessed Christmas and that you will savour your traditions with them
Merry Christmas to all
Deep in the forest where the pine trees grow
Stood a little fir tree sparkling in the snow
This little tree was hoping that this year it would be
Chosen by the woodcutter … to be a Christmas tree.
Sheena Storie, Bermuda –
Sheena is a grandmother of four children ranging in age from 2 months to 6 years. During her lifetime career as an educator, she was a learning support teacher to children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia.