The story of our lives

Violet Posy, and her lovely Christmas Decorations Tour Carnival, have got me thinking.

Every family’s christmas tree tells a story. Last night, before I saw Violet’s post, I was laughing at ours. Well, mostly at our rather stately angel. There she sits at the top of the tree, in her velvet robes with real feather wings, looking gorgeous – and ridiculously enormous. She is one of my notorious internet purchases.

Something happens to me when I buy things over the internet. I lose all sense of proportion. I once ordered a jar of Branston pickle that weighed in at nearly a kilo. Yes, really. Did you even know they made them that big? I’ve also had vats of vanilla essence and dozens of eggs. Once, the Tesco man delivered six carrier bags, each one full only of bananas. That time, I could run along behind his van screaming, ‘take my bananas away!’ (and it’s only surprising they didn’t take me away too) but, with the angel, we are well and truly stuck. As soon as the girls saw her, they took her to their hearts and she’s loomed large – very large – over our trees ever since, for years now. This year, John Lewis gave me a lovely, elegant, SMALL tree topper, complete with gold twirly bits, and I did attempt to put it on the toppermost top of the tree. But I was secretly glad when the girls rebelled and insisted on our enormous but lovely angel. Her name is Elizabeth.


Further down, under the angel’s voluminous skirts, we always have a little cluster of birds. As our cat, Mme Bovary, spends her life decimating the local birdlife, we rather like to have a few symbolic birds on the tree. Child One has had this pink one for years, with her tail getting a little more straggly every time she emerges from the cellar.

pink bird

I bought this purple birdie for Child Two’s birthday last week.

purple birdie

There are also two little umbrellas dangling on the tree somewhere, given us by a dear friend. They’re an odd Christmas tree addition, but somehow it works.

There’s also a Russian matrioska doll we got visiting Mr X’s cousin in Moscow when Child One was two. By rights, I suppose X should have custody of these – but since he got the Royal Worcester wedding china while I got the lumpen stuff from Ikea, I feel I can hang on to them.


This lovely creation was made by Child One at a Christmas workshop years ago. It’s a little scary, frankly, but very, very precious. I’m glad she is now past the age when she wanted to throw it away – she now looks on it fondly as a long-ago memory, while for me, it was yesterday when she brought it home and unveiled it to a rather shocked mama.

Down at the bottom of the tree, we put the unbreakable ornaments, so that Mme Bovary can have fun playing festive football every night when we’re asleep. Each morning, we’ll find baubles scattered all over the hall where they’ve been batted by a determined little paw.

This little red angel is one of Child Two’s first purchases.


She saved up for ages, finally making it all the way to one euro (we lived abroad then) and firmly believed she’d paid for it herself. I made up the difference, of course.

This bauble was once filled with pralines. Well, we did live in Belgium – everything was filled with pralines.


So there it is, the story of our tree. Each bauble has a memory, some recent, some long ago, some as sweet as the pralines once were, and some sadly bitter, but all of them part of our history. I love them all.

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