Lately it’s become ever more fashionable to have your tree up early in December as per the American way, yet our family staunchly resists such dark temptations. The tree is to be decorated on the 24th, and there’s no way around that. The big dusty boxes come off their shelves and several decades of family heirloom ornaments patiently wait to be hanged, with some of them reaching cult status over the years.
The absolute star is the strawberry bauble, the last of the Mohicans from our original set of Christmas decorations which were broken and cracked as years went by. The strawberry one was at first considered a bit odd, along the lines of perhaps not immediately associating strawberries with Christmas, and usually relegated to the back of the tree. But as time went by, it became the wise elder and got better and better places towards the very centre of the tree: good things do indeed come to those who wait.
Among those lost, my heart goes out to the absolutely giant pieces my grandfather bought with the purpose of re-selling them in war stricken and disintegrating Yugoslavia. By their size they might have been used for all kinds of alternative activities happening in belligerent situations, and the couple which were left with us were also killed off by their weight, unceremoniously hitting the floor at the most unexpected moments.
Then comes the blue bauble I bought to replace the similar one which had been a favourite of mine and was annihilated by our otherwise well behaved Persian cat. She’d never shown any propensity to destroy the tree, and therefore was left around it rather unsupervised, until the day when out of the blue she dashed towards the tree under my horrified eyes, scientifically took out that particular piece and none else, and retreated with the satisfaction of a job well done.
From the space oddity category, the two pink icicle shaped items for which my mum was much derided after having purchased them as an alternative to all their spherical counterparts. They are survivors as well, dating back to pre-Revolution times, when many things were considerably worse than today, except Christmas decorations- although the secular socialist state theoretically didn’t approve of Christian holidays, they replaced them with generic winter holidays and the Romanian glass industry was churning out super awesome baubles for the winter tree.
When I started travelling regularly, Christmas decorations were always high on the list of priorities as possible souvenirs, irrespective of the season when the trip took place. Among the first in this series is the rather large Roman bauble (channeling grandad’s Yugo missiles) and several wooden pieces from Austria- wood generally evaded the fantasy of our commie artisans, and I was also a bit suspicious of it in the beginning, as it can weigh quite heavy and put too much pressure on the tree’s branches, especially is it gets drier.
And last but not least, we’ve never had electric lights on the tree (perhaps we should consider some for the house, like so) and still go for old school candles- it freaks out most people and you definitely have to keep an eye on the tree, but then we do that anyways because otherwise the cats might vandalize it and if you don’t have some downtime to idle away at Christmas, you most likely never will.