Recently, someone asked me whether my tree was “designy or personal.” The answer is – personal; definitely personal. Back when Steve and I were newlyweds, I had the idea to make our tree coordinated and – I guess “designy” would be the right word. It was, for maybe a year or so, but it fell by the wayside fairly quickly. Today it’s a hodgepodge of kid-created ornaments, things picked up during our travels, and reminders of where we live. But that conversation reminded me that it’s been years since I took you on a tour of our Christmas tree. So how ’bout we do that?
This old favorite might look familiar – it’s the lighthouse from Block Island. My brother lived on the island for more than two years and he gave this to me one Christmas.
More old favorites – Mount Vernon as a gingerbread house and two teapots in the Washingtons’ china patterns. We bought these before we moved to New York for three years, to remind us of Old Dominion.
We have political statements on the tree, too. No Stamp Act!
And there are other nods to George and Martha, too.
Still on the Virginia theme, I bought this handmade clay ornament at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. It looks (a little) like our house here.
In recent years, we’ve fallen in love with Little Washington, the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We missed this year’s Little Washington Christmas parade, but at least we have this nod to the famous Inn at Little Washington on our tree.
Speaking of the Shenandoah Valley, a couple of years ago we decided to start collecting ornaments from every national park we visit. One of the first to be added to the new collection, of course, was an ornament from Nugget’s happy place – Shenandoah National Park.
We also have this one, from Joshua Tree National Park. I’d love to get back there someday and camp in the park. The night sky over the desert must be incredible.
We have other ornaments picked up from our travels, too – like these handmade pottery ornaments from the Outer Banks – the Hatteras Light and a great blue heron.
And the Adirondacks. A loon and a red canoe (couldn’t find a kayak) to commemorate paddling on Mirror Lake this past summer. (We’ll have to add a kayak after our trip to the San Juans this coming summer.)
And no tree would be complete without a nod to Cornell, too. This happy snowman is ready to take the Big Red straight to the Frozen Four!
Travel isn’t the only thing we celebrate on our tree, though. Miss Austen graces a branch.
And we have some seals in winter knitwear, because Peanut has a longstanding love affair with pinnipeds. (I’m trying to convert her to Team Cetacean, though.)
Speaking of Peanut, we have some familiar faces on our tree, too. Miss Peanut and Mr. Nugget doing their favorite things – picking flowers and hiking, respectively.
And, finally, no tree is complete – at least, not in a house with young children – without some kid-made ornaments. The gold handprint on the left is courtesy of Peanut, and the little fingerprint snowmen in the right are Nugget’s work, both from their time at Westminster Early Childhood Programs back in Buffalo.
What special holiday decorating traditions do you have?