Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

Monday, 3 December 2007

I love Christmas so much, I could leave the decorations up all year, but that would - of course - make them so much less special. Part of the charm and whimsy of dragging out those dusty boxes on 1 December is in peeling back the dull cardboard to reveal the glistening nest of sparkles inside. Old faithfuls, new contenders, bought, begged, found, hand-made and bestowed, I adore every last sparkling drop - from felt and paper strapped together precariously with glue to handblown, handpainted gems that boggle the eye.

I've managed to source some incredibly beautiful ornaments since moving to China (who-da thunk it?), most of which are handblown glass - ridiculous in a household of two kids under seven, I know. But yes - in order to have these items in my eyeballs every Christmas, that is the risk I am willing to take.

So here is our just-put-together scheme. Later I'll add lots of candles and dozens of scarlett poinsettias from the local flower market - such a lush sight, especially at night under the glow of all those fairy lights.

We have 8 trees in total - well, two undecorated and two the kids put together themselves, which are just delicious. The three main trees are the 7-footer and two x metre-high trees - one featuring some wonderfully whimsical girls bearing platters of gingerbread cookies on their heads and brightly wrapped presents tumbling from their arms. These are my absolute favourites and most treasured of all.

The other small one is a mishmash of retro kitsch - all blown glass. Little red racing cars, shimmering strawberries, London telephone boxes, blue budgies with feather tails, ice cream cones, Chinese baubles, Raggedy Anne and Andy, Santa on a motorcycle... adorable.

Our main tree's theme this year is a little more traditional and features bright red, white and pale green. There are sugar-dusted Nordic santas, glass orbs filled with powdered white glitter that shines mother of pearl in the light, handpainted snow scene baubles, German santas, glass icicles, lustrous birds with feather and tinsel tails, fairy-like mushrooms popping up on branches, retro Santa heads twisted like taffy, blue churches and a pink gingerbread house shimmering under a snowfall of glitter - all blown glass. And of course, lashings of twinkling lights.

But my favourite part of the house is the Snow Village. We don't have snow in Australia at Christmastime, so this is my little scene of indulgence, from all those years pining for a white Christmas. Of course, here in Beijing, we get to indulge that fantasty, but that privilege will soon be gone. So herewith my little scene, complete with tiny ceramic Chinese dolls.

I love decorating for Christmas. What is your theme this year?

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