LLG in England: My 2012 Christmas Tree & its Decorations

by Sasha Wilkins on January 6, 2013 · 9 comments

Christmas tree 2012

Christmas tree decorations

This weekend marked the end of Christmas: today, Sunday, was Epiphany, and modern practice counts this evening as Twelfth Night, and the day beyond which it is unlucky to leave your Christmas decorations hanging.

I’m rather sad: I love having a Christmas tree, and it looks so forlorn out on the pavement, waiting to be recycled into compost by Camden Council.  (Although I am never, ever saving a tenner by not buying a non-drop tree ever again. Its needles started dropping on the day of purchase, and the tree was practically naked by the time I carried it out this evening, wrapped in my car cover to avoid any more needle dropping in our communal hallway.)

Last year was the first  Christmas tree I’ve had in five years, and the first in a home where I haven’ t had to share it with lodgers, and this year was just as thrilling. There is something very grown up feeling about choosing one’s very own tree, and carrying it home.

Christmas tree decorations

Christmas tree people fall into two camps: the colour-coordinated and the if it hangs, it’s going on school. Me, I’m definitely in the latter camp. I like my tree decorations to remind me of people and places I love.

As I wrote last year, I’ve had an old shoe box packed away in the attic with a few choice pieces for the past five years, and I was beyond thrilled to open it up at the beginning of Advent to be reacquainted again with the decorations of my childhood.

Most importantly, there is my Christmas angel. Made for me by Granny Jessie, the grandmother of our closest friends in Smarden, the Kentish village where we grew up, she is one of my most treasured possessions. All the children received one: my sister & I, her three grandchildren and, I think, the Parfitt girls. If memory serves, the skirt was filled with sweeties. At some point she came apart and her skirt has been glued on backwards, but that doesn’t matter. She’s over thirty years old, and looking good with it.

Christmas tree decorations

I buy candy canes in America each year to hang on the branches, and to decorate my parcels.

Christmas tree decorations

This 1950s net angel once decorated a cracker, according to my mama, from whom I have filched it.

Christmas tree decorations

My best friend Jo sent me a pair of birds for my birthday this year.

Christmas tree decorations

These painted glass birds must be fifty years old or more (more filching)…

Christmas tree decorations

Georg Jensen sent me their annual Christmas decoration this year, this ravishing star.

Christmas tree decorations

A bit of Swarovski bling in the shape of a snowflake.

Christmas tree decorations

And the pretty crystal reindeer from Tiffany, that I was given at their ice skating party last year.

Christmas tree 2012

And now they are all safely packed away in their old shoebox for next year…

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

karen January 6, 2013 at 22:35

Hi – they often have boxes of candy canes in the 99p store. If its just for decoration they can’t be beat on price.

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LLG January 7, 2013 at 17:32

@karen: ooh good tip. I love the 99p store: it’s where I got my battery powered LED tree lights from! LLGxx

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Claudia Luna January 7, 2013 at 06:52

Dear LLG,

This is the very first time I write to anybody public in this world, and it is to thank you. Sharing your daily news makes me, in a way, travel with you and be almost in the heart of London, city which I have the pleasure of visiting twice.

I am from Argentina, a country that is very far away from your home but very close to your own traditions since I find myself putting all Christmas tree decorations into a shoebox for next year, and many of them are more than 50 years old.

Wish you the best for the new year that has just began and many thanks, once more, for sharing your world with us.

Warmest regards,

Claudia

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Katie January 7, 2013 at 07:24

I love to hear that other people have the same traditions when it comes to xmas tree decorations that me and my family do. Our tree was covered in a selection of the most random decorations. There are different ornaments that me and my parents have picked up on our travels over the years, little things that I made as a child as well as beautiful Victorian decorations inherited from my father’s family. Always such a treat rediscovering them all every year and so sad putting them away! Lovely reading this blog entry!

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Natalie January 7, 2013 at 07:26

I feel exactly the same as you. Taking my tree down this weekend made me entirely miserable and seeing it disappear into the maws of the recycling van this morning was heartbreaking (although at least I didn’t have to look at it sagging on the pavement for long!). Every year I can never remember when Twelfth Night is so last year I researched it properly (or so I thought) and put it in my diary. I read that it was actually Epiphany Eve and therefore, this year, the night of 5th-6th so Saturday (with 25th-26 December being the first night). Seems my quest for the definitive answer may not yet be over!

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annie January 7, 2013 at 10:23

Oh wow that was like taking a walk through my childhood. We had an angel on our tree top too but I don’t think she was as elegant as yours. She was a bit primark to your A.P.C.

I bought some polystyrene enormous lollies from heals and some rope candy canes last year and I love them.

And I’m totally with you, one’s tree should look like Santa himself has thrown up all over it :)
xx

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Karen January 7, 2013 at 12:14

I don’t like the bit about bad luck if still decorated after Twelfth Night!
I have never heard that – is it UK lore?
My tree will probably be up through the end of January, unless it
turns hideously & dangerously brown.
I never catch the Christmas Spirit until the week before, so I still play
carols and light the tree throughout January.
However, it is a trifle embarrassing putting the tree out a month behind
everyone else.

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LLG January 7, 2013 at 17:34

@Karen: Hey Karen, there’s more info here on wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas It seems to be mainly in the UK that the custom is held. My tree was so brown and crispy yesterday, it really had to go, bad luck or otherwise! LLGxx

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Amber January 12, 2013 at 05:35

I’m certainly in the colour co-ordinated camp. Although I can imagine as they years go on and I collect more decorations it will become a little more ‘throw everything at the tree’.

Amber xo
http://www.amberrosethomas.com

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