Friday, December 5, 2014

Memories of Christmas Trees Past

Yesterday, I pulled Christmas out of the storage closet. While the menorah we got as a wedding present lives in our hutch off-season, Christmas hides away in big plastic containers which hold all those decorations that have been part of czuk (and pre-czuk) holidays. There's the creche my guys got me in Bavaria back in 2001. Our Nativity scene routinely contains gnomes, teddy bears (because every baby boy needs a bear),  matrushka/matroyshka/nesting dolls, miniature nutcrackers, and several variants of Caganer figures (look it up, a Catalan tradition, sent to me by BookCrossing friend in Spain). This year, we've added a manic-neko (Japanese beckoning cat.) I can hardly wait to see what the crew that seems to do a yearly meme, adding additional figures to the scene does for 2014. One year we got the ever traditional Christmas lobster added. Here's this year's scene:

While we've had the traditional live tree, we've explored other options these past few years, such as our 2011 tree. It was at the start of a project to catalog our books and was made entirely of books from authors we personally knew at the time, or of BookCrossing books that needed to be released. The true family collection, which turned out to be around 7,000 books, remained untouched. Just heard back from one of the novels, which was released via BookCrossing in 2012. It's now in Austria.

In 2012, I chalked a Christmas tree on a piece of wood I'd painted with blackboard paint. 2013, I painted over the chalk with white acrylic and it did double duty for a second year.

Now we're in a new place-- the challenge is on.


  1. I adore your chalkboard design. Very tree of life-ish. There's a department store here in the Netherlands that has a rounded tree full of presents, black on white, on its carrier bags (or they did last year). I can't bear to throw those away. Did you have any particular story or method behind what you put where on your tree, or is it random artistic inspiration?

  2. The design was a combination of my pysanky writing, my love of folk art, and a desire to try using blackboard paint and chalk. I wanted something festive, and that represented winter and the holidays, without being too pinned to any one celebration. I did sketch out the design first, and fiddled with what to put where, but there was no meaning to the pattern, just more to the symbols I chose. The first year, we had the chalk image, which I intended to erase and do another for the next year, but liked this one so much that I ended up painting it with white paint. Thanks for askingI