An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

December 13, 2009

What's On Your Tree?

Backlit Window 1

On the surface you would think our Christmas tree is fairly conventional, no overriding theme, just a nice collection of ornaments. However when you peer through the foliage there are some less traditional ornaments and a few stories that go with them. Part of this is due to the fact that Christmas trees are not part of my wife's Jewish heritage, so she was never held back by convention. Her Nana made quite a fuss when a little artificial tree was put up in the house by her granddaughter. This protest did not stop Nana from being the first person downstairs Christmas morning to see if anything was under it with her name on it.

We have several pairs of shoes on the tree, including Dorothy's red slippers. However, my favorite are the gold booties, a gift from one of my wife's students. They were handmade by the child's uncle while he was in prison.

Ornament - Dorothy's Ruby Slippers

Ornament - Gold Booties

In a nod to Norfolk's rich burlesque heritage, the other notable article of clothing on the tree are a pair of sequined pasties.

Ornament - Pasties

Also in deference to where we live, marine life is well represented. There are lots of fish, some seashells, a jelly fish and this crab shell Santa made by a friend's dad, who is no longer with us, so it is very special.

Ornament - Joe's Santa Crab

Ornament - Jelly Fish

In a blurring of the holidays, we have a whole set of Dia de los Muertos tin ornaments I found for my wife in New Orleans.

Ornament - Dia de los Muertos

We also have some tin religious prayer tokens purchased at the Greek Orthodox festival. Apparently you pay for the blessed token to help with whatever cause you need help with, and they are hung around an alter or shrine at the church. You could buy tokens with crutches, eye glasses, various body parts etc... We bought a baby, a mom and a dad. We should have taken it as an omen that the baby is freakishly larger than the mom and dad.

Ornament - Greek Mother

Ornament - Greek Father

Ornament - Greek Child

There are as many varied and individual Christmas trees as there are homes that have one. Maybe you could show the blogging world what's on your tree.


  1. I've already posted about my Xmas ornaments, Les, two years ago. I love seeing your special ornaments. The quirkier and more personal, the better!

  2. Now those are very special ornaments Les ! I love them all but those ruby slippers .. bang ! they really stand out .. this made me smile BIG this morning !
    Joy : )

  3. I hope to get a post together, in the meantime your tree is gorgeous. Love the ornaments and their stories....The pasties may be the most interesting ornament I've heard about so far! gail

  4. Les, your photos never fail to please! Absolutely beautiful as are the tree ornaments. P.S. Thank you for the compliment on EH, one of my favorites also along with Charles Sheeler, O'Keeffe...

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  5. Beautiful and interesting ornaments. I love the stained glass piece over your mantle!

  6. Very interesting baubles on your tree!

  7. Beautiful details of your tree Les! A great tradition no matter the religion... after all it is a pagan ritual... the spirit of the forest and all. Love to read the stories around the ornaments. Your living room must be so cozy with all the magical light on the tree and in your stain glass. Carol

  8. As special as the ornament are, I love seeing the window from Grace Methodist's old chapel over the mantel. I remember many interesting times in that old building, crawling through the pipe organ loft and hiding among the pews.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah.

  9. Pam,
    Thanks for the link. I would expect anyone living in Texas to have some reminder of the state on their tree.

    Garden Joy,
    I am glad you got a smile out of it. Hanging next to the slippers is the Wicked Witch.

    We like the pasties too and their red and gold colors fit right in on the tree.

    Merry Christmas to your family as well.

    Thanks for stopping by. The stained glass was a very special gift and remembrance.

    Thanks for coming across the ocean to see our tree.

    Our living room is indeed cozy, but not so much from the soft light as from the small square footage.

    You know what that glass means to me. I'm looking forward to seeing you next week and perhaps beating you in Monopoly again.


  10. Slippers are my favorite.....I finally got a chance to take some images of this years unconventional tree.

  11. The prison booties look like they were made out of gold candy wrappers. They are a treat. I love your ornaments but what is really a delight is the first shot which gives a sense of the room. I am ready to move in for the holidays — if not the rest of the winter.

  12. Hi Les,

    Thanks very much for visiting my blog, it's much appreciated.

    I really love your tree and wish I were able to have something looking as good!

  13. I love seeing your tree, and that stained glass window is amazing! Pasties!!!! I used to have some, bought as a joke and left in unusual places for a surprise. I never thought of putting them on the tree. They were iridescent white, very elegant. :-)

  14. Lovely! Thanks for this great tour around your tree. I LOVE the Nana story!

  15. Jeff,
    I really like your take on the Christmas tree. Thanks for the link.

    Sorry, but we are not taking in boarders, but you are welome to stop by for a cup of coffee or maybe something stronger depending on your mood.

    You are welcome to come back anytime.

    Unless you knew what the pasties were for, you think they would belong on the tree.

    There are lots of good Nana stories.


  16. My favorite are the Dia de los Muertos tin ornaments! I have a friend that would love them (and I might need to look for something similar for her next Christmas) - she and her husband are poets, and her husband is from Mexico, so they always through a Day of the Dead party each November.

    This is the second year that my ornaments have been in storage, and looking at your tree made me miss them: perhaps my most nontraditional ornaments are the little buddhas, and I too have a series of 'marine' ornaments, including Poseidon and Neptune and sea horses, etc. Hopefully in the next year or two the ornaments will come out of safe keeping - and by then they'll seem new all over again!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.

  17. Your Christmas tree is beautiful and I love the stained glass window above the mantle. You have a great assortment of ornaments. My favorites are the Day of the Dead pieces and the piece of pie.

  18. I enjoy seeing other folks' trees. Ornaments are special statements of our lives. The pasties are a hoot...don't tell Charlie (when you finally get a chance to meet)that you have a set of pasties, he wants to put some on the mermaid.
    Love the jellyfish--pretty. Your Dia de Muertes ornaments are certainly interesting.
    Your asking of others to post what is on our tree is food for thought. Most of mine are carved wooden German ornaments.

  19. Pam,
    Maybe you could pull a few choice ornaments out of storage and hang them from a small branch in the Airstream. Please have a great Christmas and enjoy your time with your father and family in Va.

    Sweet Bay,
    The pie was part of a series of deserts that were a gift to my wife several birthdays ago.

    I think pasties on the mermaid would be fun, not that they should be on all the time, maybe just for special occasions.


  20. Your tree is beautiful. I like how every ornament has a special story. Hope you had a nice holiday.

  21. Bek,
    Thank you for stopping by. We did have a nice holiday. I hope yours was good as well.