Christmas is big in my family. There was always a Christmas tree and special treats that mum bought only once in the year, like burnt sugar almonds, cashews and chocolates.
When we were really little, we would have a baked chicken and a plum pudding with a threepence in it.
But later, as times changed, we would have seafood cocktail for entrée, baked dinner (including pork and beef) for main and for sweets, we had cassata. We had the same EVERY year and we loved it.
About one hundred years ago when Maus and I were young, we spent a year in Europe. We came back broke and jobless and it was Christmas time.
I remember buying the cheapest Christmas tree in the shop (you had to have a Christmas tree). It was silver and had about five limbs:( I also bought one decoration. Yep, just the one – that is all I could afford. This lovely angel. (Her hair seems to have grown over the years. I think it needs a cut.) For the rest of our decorations, we collected gum nuts and painted them gold and silver.
As time passed, we got jobs and studied and things started to look up. We travelled the world, got promoted and, generally, things were good. It wasn’t too long before that miserable Christmas tree was at the Op Shop and I bought a green one with many more limbs and then, when that one died, I bought a bigger and better one with more limbs still. Too big, in fact, for our small house but that did not seem to worry me. I wanted a big Christmas tree.
And as time passed, so did the painted gum nuts for fancy decorations.
We bought this beautiful lady in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Isn’t she divine? I bought her from this absolutely fabulous Christmas shop that is open all year. I wanted to buy so many but they were pretty expensive and those were the days when A$1.00 was worth about US$0.50.
We bought this guy in Naples. I LOVE Naples. He is probably made in China but I remember the shop and the alley way we bought him in and he just reminds me of Naples.
We bought this beautiful ball and several others from Suffering Moses in Kashmir, India, before it was closed to tourists. They are made from paper mache and hand painted.
And over the years, I received decorations as gifts.
This little penguin is from my old friend, Jane. Apart from my sisters, I have known Jane longer than I have known anyone else. I can still remember seeing Jane for the first time. Her family had just migrated to Australia and she came to our school. She was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. She was tiny. She had fair skin and long blonde hair. She wore a pink checked dress and had a little ‘kerchief around her hair. We were 8.
Jane also bought this guy. For a long time, I had a thing with penguins so Jane bought me penguin decorations. Very thoughtful.
The next two were gifts from Lisa (Gerlinde and Alex’s daughter) who stayed with us whilst she was in Australia for her gap year.
Here is his mate. They are so lovely.
And then there is Santa. I don’t know who gave me Santa.
And I have decorations that my sister, Sandra, made. They are special just because she made them.
And then there are the decorations that I bought just ‘coz they are gorgeous. Just look at them.
This one is my latest purchase. It is Royal Doulton china.
This one is to die for, don’t you think?
Yes. Things have been good for Maus and me and it is reflected in our Christmas tree, laden with beautiful decorations. Each year, I buy a couple more.
But each year at the top of our very tall tree sits our little angel, reminding us of the days when she was all we could afford. Reminding us how lucky we are to have all those other decorations. She is our reminder to be humble, for humility is a fine attribute. Now it is time to put presents under the tree. I can’t wait.