This poem sums up memories of Christmas Trees from my childhood perfectly, and I’m sure many peoples’ Christmas trees, with important home-made decorations and gifted decorations added to the tree year after year. Thanks to Mum’s neighbour (T) who found the poem in a Next Magazine and kept it, and let me borrow it to copy out.
The poem is either called “The Ghost of Christmas Decorations Past” or “Oh Christmas Tree”.
Let’s decorate the tree this year
With ornate silver swags,
Snow-white doves and strings of pearls,
Like in the glossy mags.
Let’s see now, here’s the biscuit box
Of decorations past…
Well, that isn’t white or silver,
But was really made to last.
There are fifty coats of varnish
On this little scrap of dough,
Made earnestly at kindy
By you, five years ago.
Oh I know it doesn’t match well,
But we’ll put it on the tree,
Right by this purple bauble
That my Auntie gave to me.
Pass up that angel Dad won
At last year’s Christmas do,
Then, wrap Grandama’s yellow tinsel
Round Bub’s gilded baby shoe.
Ah, my sister’s pom-pom snowman,
Oh, and look at what I’ve found!
Uncle Roger’s fairy lights
For festive ‘sensoround’.
Well, our tree is looking nothing like
The vision that I saw,
Yet, for all it’s eccentricity
I think I love it more!
By Fifi Colston.
Mum’s Christmas Tree is fairly small and is quick to set up as it is all-in-one (unlike mine – see previous blog). The tree is second-hand as I acquired it years ago from a friend who was throwing it away because she was moving to another city.
Before that we always had a real pine tree as a Christmas Tree, and it was covered in a plethora of colourful and meaningful home-made and gifted decorations, much like in the poem above. But these home-made, gifted or specially bought decorations have a place in our hearts as they all contain and provide wonderful memories. For example we have a crystal decoration gifted to Mum from (CT) whose Christmas Cake recipe we used (see several previous blogs).
But several of our favourite decorations of ours include these two:
Let me introduce to you……Burnt Bum, the Santa made out of felt.
Burnt Bum front view….and
Burnt Bum back view
As you can see, his name is literal. He acquired his name after suffering an unfortunate burn to the seat of his pants. You can imagine all the jokes we had over the years at the placement of his burn mark! (and still do). The jokes all include a certain amount of schadenfreude, and he embodies the principle of schadenfreude very nicely. He sits where everyone can see him, in the middle of the tree, and has done so for at least 30 years.
Burnt Bum was hand-crafted by Mum. That particular Christmas Mum had made everyone (including Mum’s sister and two of my cousins) a Christmas decoration, then made Christmas crackers to put them in. The powder in the cracker pull that makes the ‘bang’ noise left a permanent mark on most of the decorations, but none more strategically placed than Burnt Bum. Dad was the lucky one to get Burnt Bum in his Christmas cracker. Burnt Bum represents the great fun we had that Christmas. Every time we see him we are reminded of the happy memories of Christmas, and on seeing him we always have a smile (and a chuckle), and reflect on memories together.
The item that has pride of place on the top of the Christmas tree is the Christmas Fairy. I made her in my very first few months of attending school and she has been on every Christmas tree since then. Over the years she has lost a hand, and the star at the top of her wand, (which has been crudely patched up), her face has been re-drawn, and the back of her knees have been reinforced with toothpicks to keep her upright, and over time this has required heavy duty strengthening with ice-cream sticks, but she is very much a part of our family Christmas traditions. (This is a tradition that is even older than our favourite tradition of having trifle for breakfast on Boxing Day.) Mum sent me a text in December this year that reads: “Tree all lit up…and fairy on top. Feels like Christmas”. This year, Fairy has been gifted a special box of her own to preserve her for future Christmases.