Where The Lone Star State Meets The Puget Sound
A Fine Mesh Of Two Great Styles

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Out of the Box~

Oh yeah.  When it comes to Christmas my tastes are more than a little eclectic; maybe even all the way to quirky.  I like traditional, refined rustic, folk art and even a little retro.

 "Put it together and what've you got..."

A whole lot of Christmas! 

Last night, while Larry struggled with installing a new-to-us wood burning fireplace insert (for which he's been on an incessant prowl), I decorated one of our Christmas trees.  This tree is out of the box~ literally.  And I love it.  She's a slimline, 6 foot aluminum beauty!

I was just getting started, as you can see.

When I was a preteen in the mid 60's, my next door neighbor and friend Diana had one of the first ever aluminum trees.  I really thought her family was cool.  They even had the multi-colored light wheel to go with it.  Do you remember any of this?  Are there Baby Boomers among us?

We, on the other hand, had either a green tree off the local lot or a green tree that was heavily flocked white to resemble snow.  I grew up in Southern California and a flocked Christmas tree was the closest thing we had to a white Christmas.  I loved the night my dad finally announced that we could go tree shopping. There was a tree lot on a nearby corner and we would peruse each aisle. My dad would pull tree after tree out for our inspection.  I was the impatient one in the family. I would have bought any of them. But my dad was discerning and we would shop until we found the perfect tree~ perfect height, full and fragrant, perfect price.  Then we would take it home and he would cut a few inches off of the trunk, stick it in a pail of wet sand and then send me off to do homework.

Oh how I hated waiting 24 hours to decorate our tree.  I would beg him to let us set it in the house that very night.  But my dad has own little ritual and he didn't deviate from it.

Our Christmas trees were lovely.  When I was a very young girl we used the large colored lights and an array of glass ornaments.  Nothing needed to match; its beauty was steeped in tradition.  On the night we decorated the tree, my dad would set out our reel to reel tape recorder~ a beastly, boxy piece of equipment~ and he would play the only Christmas tape we owned; a collection of traditional carols sung by a large choir of rich voices.  As I recall the tape began and ended with a gorgeous rendition of Carol of the Bells.  Occasionally the tape would break but that didn't matter.  My dad just taped it back together. Oh how I loved that tape~ and how I felt as I listened.  I will never forget the intense feelings of joy that seemed to be unique to the Christmas season.  It's a feeling that I believe all adults long to recapture. 

As I got older my mom's taste changed.  Our trees were more dressy; usually white with small white lights and all gold balls.  They too were beautiful.  My family loved Christmas~ family, food, friends and stockings hung above the fireplace.  I have such a reservoir of warm memories.

My aluminum tree represents these memories.  The sixties-ness of it speaks to me of my upbringing--my nest--a simple life free of worry.  Mine was a life wrapped in the loving arms of my dad and my mom. 

I have my own assortment of vintage ornaments to hang upon my 6 feet of tin foil.  None of them came from my family so I've had to buy them as I can find them.  Now that older ornaments are becoming popular once again, the prices are creeping up.  I'm sorry that I don't have any heirloom ornaments but that doesn't really matter.  Their vintage evokes all the warmth of Christmases past.

I love the boxed sets I've had the good fortune to stumble upon.  Some still have original price tags from stores such as Woolworth's and Montgomery Ward.  One of the price tags says .05! 

This box lid is precious.

Well here she is, resplendent with ornamentation.  I love her shape. It seems perfectly designed for the corner of our sun room~

Folk art snow men gallantly stationed aboard our retro pink ladder,
guard the growing inventory of gifts.

This guy is under a lot of stress!

I totally gave myself over to nostalgia last night as I trimmed the tree.  And then, while I listened to Johnny Mathis singing "Oh Holy Night" (as only Johnny Mathis can), I began to wonder if our son looks fondly back on the Christmases of his childhood.  Or at 29 is he still too busy looking forward?  I wonder too if Larry and I have created enough tradition.  And did we provide the stuff of which precious memories are made? Or did we just provide 'stuff"?  Perhaps as a young, single man he has yet to think about these things.

I'm not going to ask him though.  Not just yet.  One of these days he'll have his own family and as he goes about the business of establishing new family traditions maybe his own good memories will occupy his thoughts for a time.  I like to think so anyway.

May your hearts be filled with profound joy!  And may all your Christmases right.

Thank you so much for dropping by~



  1. I love your sparkling tree! The Shiny Brites are my favorite! What a great find! I think you created wonderful Christmas memories for your son! I see it in your lovely home! I still cherish my special memories my mom created at the holidays too! Lovely post! God bless you at this amazing time of year!

  2. Love your retro tree and vintage ornaments. The ladder idea is so cute.

  3. Dana,
    Thanks for reminding us all of the rich, warm, cozy feelings that the memories of Christmases past evoke. Hope this season finds you celebrating with friends and family (near and far, in person or otherwise) as you create more wondrous memories to enjoy in the future. Merry

  4. I found you over at Coastal Colors and I am so glad I did. I think your island cottage is fabulous and your decor is perfect! Thanks for the inspiration!