Monday, November 29, 2010

The Memory Tree

When I was a child, my mother would always drag home a real tree from a lot close to my home.  After my father passed away it became my job to decorate, I guess my mother just didn't have the heart to do it anymore.  I was twelve and my brother was eight, so I took on the role willingly, it made me feel very grown up.

(These old photos really look shabby next to the more recent 35mm and digital, wonder what future generations will say about our digital)
We gave her a lot of bathrobes!

We had those big circus colored lights ( although I always craved my aunts bubble lights) with lots of shiny ornaments and tinsel put on piece by piece (my mother used to actually trim the tinsel with a scissors so that it was all the same length, but this was before my father died).  I remember my father drilling holes in the balsam tree trunk to insert and tie branches to make it the perfect tree.

This was my aunt's bubble tree.  For some reason it looked a lot bigger and more impressive when I was a child.

This was the tree I had in my first house, check out that tinsel.

I used to bunch up the cotton under the tree and carefully lay out the nativity scene.  Some of the animals were either broken or missing but most of it was intact.

I had a real tree for many years as my children were growing up, and I always wondered why my son was so sick around the holidays.  He was allergic to the mold spores that grow on the trunks of the trees, so in comes the artificial tree.  I have had big ones, little ones and the one I have now which is in between.

This is the real tree at my old, old house, into the bows that year.

At my last house I kept the ribbon but gave up some of the bows.  My second Westie Duffy is hardly visible on the white rug.

This one is my Memory Tree, it has everything on it from my whole life, my children's creations, relatives creations, student gifts, my pets through the years, even the car key from our family Volkswagen that was handed down to my children and even my nephews.  It was so used we finally donated it to charity.

As I decorate it this year, it has become very special, my mother-in-law's handmade ceramic ornaments are put on very carefully, my little felt ornaments that I made before my children were born are still in great condition.  Too many to count ornaments from the many students I had throughout the years, some with their names on the back, some remembered because of either the uniqueness of the child or the ornament.

Ceramic ornaments made by my mother-in-law

Felt ornaments (there are twelve) that I made when I was first married

Many handmade angels from former students

My daughter's needlepoint when she was seven

I try to add a few trendy things each year, like my sparkling butterflies and fancy beads, but the star is pretty old fashioned, along with my vintage ornaments and those shiny ones from my childhood.  It will never look striking unless you get up close and personal with it!

Vintage ornaments and lots of Westies.  We have had three West Highland White Terriers through the years so there are may types of Westie ornaments on our tree.

Paddington and many storybook characters are on the tree.

Do you think Reggie will leave the teddies alone?

A gift from our realtor when we moved into my present home in 2003.

Have fun decorating, know matter how much or how little you do for the holidays, keep it personal!


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, I share your excitement at getting out the Christmas ornaments that have been carefully packed away each year. As you say, each one holds a happy memory, no matter if each year they become slightly more battered. When in Budapest for Christmas [as I am most years], the tree is bought from the Christmas market which is held just opposite the house of my apartment on Christmas Eve. Sadly, I think that I shall be in London and it will certainly lack a certain magic for me.

Becca's Dirt said...

I enjoyed looking at your prized ornaments. I love the heritage tree. What a great photo of your mom. WE gave lots of robes too. I have many ornaments from the ole' days when the kids were coming up that I still use today. I love those memories.

Zoey said...

I really enjoyed this post. I remember being very particular when I put the tinsel on the tree when I was a child. I love your first tree with all that tinsel! Do they even sell it anymore?

When I was a young bride/mother, I, too, made felt ornaments for the tree. I still have them. I used some of the felt candy canes on the window garland behind my tree. I may use more of them--if I put up more trees. Most years I do multiple trees. This year I am saying only one tree....we shall see!

Memory trees are the best!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

What a wonderful idea for a tree Eileen. You must go down memory lane every time you trim that tree each year.
I remember the tinsel. We use to put them on one at a time so far apart.LOL! The boys use to just throw hand fulls on so we had to take them back off and hang them right. LOL!

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

The story of The Memory Tree and what it represents is profound and touching.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Edith,

There are years when it seems like so much work, but as I open each box that has been put away for a year it is worth it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Becca, the old ornaments are the best. I am sorry I don't have more of my mother's and aunt's.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey, we always got in trouble for not doing the tinsel correctly. I think they still have it, but it is kind of slippery and plastic like now.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona, I remember trying to teach my son when he was about two how to hang tinsel. He balled it up in his fist and threw it at the tree. I never used tinsel again!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Allan, I try to give my own children something from their childhood memories each year. I have too many ornaments to use everything.


Mary Anne said...

Very heart felt Eileen and beautifully done. So many memories,,,,,

garden girl said...

Aw, how wonderful Eileen. What a perfectly lovely, heart-filled post.

p.s. love your festive header!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Mary Anne,

Since blogging, I tend to notice everything a little more, even the tree.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks GG,

I finally learned how to resize the header so it would fit.


Stone Art said...

Nice post, starting to get in the Christmas mood now. All the snow outside here is helping aswell, even if it is a bit early

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Stone Art,

I didn't realize you got much snow in Ireland. I have many cousins in Ireland near Galway, Dublin, Foxford, etc. I wonder if they are getting hit with the snow also.