This year might be the year when we don’t have a traditional tree decoration at home. By decoration I mean a tree with things on it.
As a child the tree was an important part of the Christmas thing.
- It was always a real tree.
- it was always as tall as the room, sometimes taller, the fairy looming over the room at an awkward angle.
- Every year we had to make a new base for the tree out of some wood in the form of an X.
Every year Come easter the tree might still to have been found behind the shed, brown, spindly and forlorn. It would be a few months till Bonfire night, unless we had one earlier.
Every year the same things happened in preparation. An important part of the tree was the lights. a Lot of lights. one of the chores was checking each and every light bulb. Because. This involved sitting with an interesting multimeter device the like I have not seen again, and checking each one by passing a current through it. Every one.
The bulbs were I remember coloured. And each bulb socket had a flowery looking surround. Each bulb was an Edison screw type bulb and not a bayonet fitting. We called them fairy lights. I’m not sure we still do.
Decorating the tree was a family affair and there were always lot of hands. The hanging ornaments were fragile glass globes. Some of which had been broken in the previous 12 months.
But an important part of the tree dressing was the decorations made from lollies and walnuts
Take a tin of Roses Chocolates, they come in foil and cellophane wrappers, brightly coloured and shiny.
You get a reel of cotton and you make each sweet an ornament by making a loop of cotton using one end of the wrapper as an anchor.
You then hang the lollies on the tree.
During the next 20 days, or whatever time frame you have, you get a reward treat of a lolly from the tree, opening the chocolate and leaving the foil and cellophane on the tree, empty but still pretty!
There was the Round toffee one, the long toffee one covered in chocolate, the one with the walnut inside, the sold chocolate one, the one that was strawberry, the orange creme…
Mother would also make walnuts to hang from the tree, using a matchstick in one end of the walnut whole to make an anchor.
And there you have a tree with lights, glass globes, Cellophane lollies and walnuts. Add a rope or two of tinsel and a can or two of fake snow and there you have my traditional memory of a tree.
An enormous pine smelling plant, that dropped pine needles from the moment it was in the corner, and kept watched over the room. We didn’t have the presents under the tree as a tradition, we were many children and there were many temptations, until christmas eve. It wasn’t a big deal.
Come taking down the tree time there were always willing hands to investigate and find the cunningly hidden lollies or those that were too high to reach for esger young hands.
With children we’ve carried on at least the lolly part of the decorations, the glass globes have moved onto shapes and stars made of various things, safer and less likely to cut and injure.