To light or not to light

Posted on December 24, 2008


Reading Heather Uphilldowndale’s post about priceless family heirlooms and Danish Christmas customs reminded me to tell you this story.

This year Rob the Firefighter and Alicia the Architect decided to shift from Severely Contemporary Tree to Kitschy Traditional Tree.  Naturally they turned to me for advice.  Where could they find Swedish Christmas ornaments?  In my attic of course—would they like to have these priceless family heirlooms?  They would.  The problem turned out to be getting the heirlooms to their house in time for the hall-decking. I unpacked them to bid them farewell and they are still here.  (The heirlooms, not Rob and Alicia.) 

My sister Susan (a/k/a Dr. Sue-Sue) brought the wooden ornaments back from her travels in the ancestral lands in Sweden.  The woven straw pieces came from the Children’s Museum in Detroit (also an ancestral land; we are a nomadic people). 

Swedish wooden ornaments

The gift inspired me to attend a Swedish straw ornament workshop—this was during my Arts and Crafts period—and for several years after that I spent hours making stars, angels, snowflakes, hearts, wreaths—even butterflies—instead of baking cookies.  I gave straw ornaments to everyone in the family and to all my friends.  They were the craft equivalent of summer zucchini.  Then I gave that obsession up for something else, who knows what.  These are the pieces I have left. 

Swedish straw ornaments

Oddly enough, looking at them has made me want to commit Crafts once more.  Wonder if Katy Newman can let me have some clean straw . . .

It has been years since I lit a tree in my house. (The Writing Studio and Bait Shop is in a wooden chalet with a woodstove deep in the north woods and several miles from a volunteer fire department.)  Assuming that I make more ornaments, a question remains: To light or not to light?

Family photos on the mantel

While I’m thinking about it I’ve strung some lights across the mantel, lighting the faces of lots of people I love.  Lots and lots of people I love, though by no means all.  And a few good dogs, too.  May this Christmas Eve be filled with the faces of people you love and, yes, a few good dogs!

Mom, Bob and Bonnie Beloved of Bob

Cheri, Alicia the Architect and Rob the Firefighter

Mom and Dad