“Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family.”

No disaster to report this morning. The tree is still standing, the outside lights were lit last night and all seems well with my part of the world, knock on wood I suppose. The day is a bit dreary, but I don’t mind. My to-do Christmas list is moving right along on track. Last night I wrapped the Colorado gifts and today I do the dreaded grocery shopping, mostly for Christmas baking. The last item on my must do now list is sending off those gifts; that’s for tomorrow.

I have colored lights outside, but I have white lights in the windows. Most houses have them now and many also have the white lights on their bushes and trees. When I was a kid, I never saw white lights as decorations except maybe one or two bulbs as part of a string on a tree.

Every year my dad put lights on the bushes in front of our house. The strings were filled with those huge colored bulbs you never see any more, the ones which burned so hot. In our windows were plastic white candles. They were so light-weight my mother had to tape them to the windowsills so they wouldn’t fall. The bulbs made them top-heavy. Mostly those bulbs were orange though the candelabra in the picture window had a variety of colors. When it got close to dark, we’d each run to a window and turn the bulb to get it to light. That was the only way to turn the bulbs on and off. My mother used those same window candles all of her life. When I’d visit at Christmas, I’d go from window to window to turn them on. Just before going upstairs to bed, I’d turn off the bulbs. They were always hot to the touch.

My tree has bubble lights given to me by my friends. They start perking really quickly. The ones on the tree when I was growing up seemed to take forever to perk. We’d sit in front of the tree watching them. Each of us wanted to be the first to find the bubbles. The winner would yell and point. Those were my favorite lights.

For my tree, I’m not one for designer decorations or bows of different colors or themes though that last one might be fun. I decorate with favorite ornaments. Some are from my childhood, others were hand-made by me and my mother, many came from trips, and this year I added new ones from Ghana: the really old treasures my friend gave me and a beaded star I bought in Accra. Some of my ornaments are sort of ugly, but I always put those in the front. I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I take my time decorating the tree. My ornaments are treasures, repositories of my memories, and sometimes I just sit and hold a special one in my hand and let the memories flood my heart.

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12 Comments on ““Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    My tree is decorated and the lights shine every evening and morning. The tree is a bit bigger this year so it’s almost not to much πŸ™‚

    I had never even heard about those bubble lights before >you wrote about them here, I want them but can’t find anything like it over here, but with these new, not so hot lights they might not even exist any longer, to bad.

    Cold and foggy outside and the fog tries to eat its way in to the cottage, the heat from the stove is slowly winning though but it sure takes its time πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      it is so lovely when the trees are lit. I love just looking at it. The size this year was perfect for the corner, not too big.

      The LED lights are about all you can find now. They shine funny, a bit weird. I like regular lights better.

      It was a cold night last night and will be again tonight, not cold for you but for us. I don’t mind. It’s that time of year!

  2. Birgit Says:

    About 2 decades ago we almost only had white lights outside over here and I was surprised at the many colored lights I saw in Canada. Now also colored lights everywhere and you can even find such beauties like eyes-hurting neon-blue reindeers and a round multicolored LED light commonly called Flashing A**hole.
    Have a disaster-free day! (Though I’m wondering what might have prevented you from posting songs by now. Hopefully no disaster.)

    • Kat Says:

      We had only colored lights twenty years ago, but I think they are out-numbered by white lights now.

      Those LED lights are ugly. I know they are less expensive to light, but the colors are off.

      My friend and I had decided on a movie today, but she never gave a time, She assumed 12:30 and called me around that time asking where I was. I got dressed and got there just as the movie started and just before I could post the music. No disaster!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We had those plastic candles, too. I had forgotten about unscrewing them to put them out until I read that part then the memory of licking my fingers before touching the hot bulbs came back to me. πŸ˜€ My mother usually stuck the candles to the window sill with either cellophane tape or packing tape. If I try hard, I can probably still find the traces of ancient sticky tape remains. πŸ™‚
    The bubbling candles were some of my favorite lights. We had them back in the 50’s when I was a kid. It was mesmerizing to watch the bubbles come up the tube. It was not so much fun when one of them burst open and colored water spilled all over.
    Back in the 80’s there was an upsurge of popularity for miniature Italian white lights for decorating outside. All of a sudden everything that used to be huge colored light bulbs was now tiny white lights. It was a bit dull, to my eyes. Recently the fad has been the dripping lights that hang from the eaves, also tiny and white. Also monotonous. My neighbor, though, has gotten a string of burnished gold, blue and red dripping lights that is absolutely beautiful.
    I just have evergreen kissing balls with red ribbons hanging on either side of the front stairs and a couple of lanterns with fake flickering candles. Warm and inviting.
    Sunny and cold up here. Rocky spent the day on the very warm front porch and I spent the day on the couch. Sounds familiar somehow. πŸ˜€
    Enjoy the evening.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Yup, I licked my finger too before I turned off the hot bulb. My mother used cellophane tape in a criss-cross pattern over the bottom of the candle.

      I don’t think I ever saw one of those bubble lights burst. They just died and stopped bubbling. Those icicle lights hanging from the eaves were popular for a few years, and I still see some houses with them, but very few. I have colored lights strung on a garland across the front fence and the fence across the drive-way. I also have a huge white star on that drive-way fence. it looks great. On a tree in the front I have hung huge ornaments and put a flood light on them. The house is festive inside and out.

      Cold here too and it will be even colder tonight. I did my grocery shopping, but it was mostly the ingredients for my Christmas goodies.

  4. sprite Says:

    We had the candles, too, although ours had blue lights instead of orange. In later years, they were replaced by candles that had cooler, clear light bulbs and switches on the cords. So much easier to turn those off before bed (or, in the case of the one in my bedroom) when I got up the next morning.

    My favorite light-related Christmas accessory, though, was a plastic Santa riding Rudolf. It got knocked off our dresser once or twice, so I think the poor reindeer’s legs became particularly fragile.

    • Kat Says:

      I seldom saw any blue lights by themselves, just as part of a string of lights. I also have window lights with switches. My bulbs look like candles. I just leave them on all the time.

      I have a lot of plastic Santas lit from the inside. They are mostly from the 50’s. I haven’t put them out i a while-next year I should.

  5. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat from Phoenix. Since I have been here it doesn’t feel anything like the holidays. It’s been warm, highs in the 70s with clear skys. However, tonight the clouds are moving in from the west and there is a good possibility of rain and thunderstorms. Not very holiday like, but I have never been here when there were clouds in the sky or have ever seen it rain.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Bob,
      That you’re getting rain might just be the Christmas miracle-they don’t have to be big, just unexpected.

      Ghana was hot, but we figured that was closer to the wether in the Holy Land than snow so we were okay with that!

  6. Jay Bird Says:

    So, Kat, what was your tree decorating music? For us it was always Dick Cerri’s “Music Americana” Christmas show. (a great folk show on Sunday nights in Washington, DC) Taped two shows and played them every year after we moved away while we decorated the tree. My kids knew every song in order, and even the commercials! PP&M, David Grisman, Christie Minstrals, Kingston Trio, Emmy Lou, Joan… I still listen to the playlist, now all MP3’s on my iTunes.

    • Kat Says:

      I put on PP&M’s Christmas album, John Prine, 1940’s Christmas, Emmy Lou’s, one of my favorites, and then just a mixture in my Christmas file. I ,of course, played the album I made with Guy Lombardo when I was in the 6th grade.

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