Thursday, 23 December 2021

O, CHRISTMAS TREE


However pagan its origins, I have never lost (and I hope I shall never lose) my affection for the Christmas Tree: real or artificial it seems to me to be an enduring symbol of enduring life in midst of the bleak death of winter-tide. 

 


Until 2019, our Christmases were for many years celebrated in Venice where our Christmas tree was this small glass tree (hung with Father-Christmas-decorations) made by the skilled craftsman of F.G.B. di Bubacco Giorgio, a little shop occupying the bottom part of a former campanile in Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, just in front of our Venetian home-from-home, Hotel Ala.

 

 

This year our little Santa-tree sits the alongside a Klimt Friendship Tree, made on the Venetian island of Murano, that was the last Christmas gift from a very dear Venetian friend who passed away a few months ago.

 


Knowing that Covid was going to keep us from our much-loved La Serenissima this December, we invested in a new artificial tree which decked out in baubles and other dangling odds and ends looks like this...

 

 

I am especially fond of a set of plastic birds that are now approaching 70-years-old and have been part of Sibley Christmases since I was a very small child. I think they came from F W Woolworth Company, now long-gone but once a popular fixture on pretty much every British high street. 

I dare say, at the time, these birds cost no more than a few pence each, but as they 'fly' around the tree, catching the lights, they bring back so many memories of Christmases long gone: some happy, some sad; some wonderfully celebratory and others. truthfully, better forgotten and laid to rest...


 


 

Every family Christmas tree is, I suppose, a totemic symbol: memorializing in the present, events from the past and carrying them softly, happily – occasionally regretfully, but always hopefully – towards the next new year the next, as yet unwritten pages of our future...


4 comments:

Servetus said...

This year, in the wake of my father's death, I am heir to all the Christmas stuff we moved out of his house. It hadn't been unpacked since my mother's death in 2013. I am anticipating a lot of tears whenever I finally unpack it (won't be this year). But it definitely carries a lot of history and memories with it.

Brian Sibley said...

Thank you for sharing. I hope when you do (at a future Christmas) unwrap those memories, that your tears will – as I'm sure they will – be tears richer by far in happiness than in sorrow... You are in my thoughts this Christmastide.

Michael G. said...

Brian- maybe next year in Venice! Your trees and ornaments are lovely! Thanks!

Tasker Dunham said...

We stll have two of my mother's little coloured glass trumpets of similar age to the birds, also possibly from FWW. One still sounds when you blow it but you have to be very careful not to cut your mouth because the glass has cracked.