James was so excited to see the tree and all the bags and boxes of decorations come down from that mysterious hole in the ceiling. He ran around, pulling out decorations, exclaiming "Oh - do you remember this lovely thing - and this?" Of course he wanted to hang the decorations on by himself, so I managed to suppress my perfectionist designer urges, and just go with the joy (at least until he is not around to see me surreptitiously move them around)
The shiny pink fir cone is part of an unmatched set bought one Summer afternoon in a Paris flea market. As far away from Christmas as you can get, really, but what lovely romantic memories they hold.
When my elder daughter was very small, we visited a former colleague of mine one Christmas, and as we were leaving she asked Karen if she would like to chose something from her tree to put on hers. She chose this little red stocking. The years passed, we moved on to other jobs, our roads diverged, and we lost touch, but I still think of her every year as I place the little piece of felt on the tree.
It is not just the decorations themselves that stir the memories. The boxes they are stored in have their own stories too. This cheerful box, which now stores glass baubles, was originally a Diwali present from a former colleague of my husband. I can still taste those sweet mangoes - they were, just as the lid says. I love to see this sunny, brightly coloured box, as much as the glittering decorations it now contains.
It is more than just tinseled trinkets that hang on those branches - our lives dangle there too. As I decide where to put our disheveled Angel, am I the same woman who first wondered that 30 odd years ago? How have I changed? What has remained the same? I am reflected in the windows, and on the shiny baubles, along with the coloured lights, so this is a good time to look at that image in the glass, and turn inward to see if it matches up to the person I am inside. As we head towards the Winter Solstice, these memories and reflections blaze out,alongside the Christmas tree but we need the darkness in order to really see them clearly.
Solstice blessings to all.