Monday, 3 January 2011

Christmas trees

Happy New Year everyone!  On the ninth day of Christmas I have been looking at our Christmas tree and its ornaments.  In 2009 we did not dare have a tree because two of our cats were still kittens and this year we thought quite carefully about what they might and might not attack.  Actually it has been fine and only a couple of ornaments have been removed by paws.

First we realised that if we put the tree in the conservatory we could shut the cats out if necessary although we their access to the garden it through it.  So in the end we shut the doors to the sitting room as it got dark (and cold) but haven't pulled the curtains so we can still see it with its lights on.

Then we decided that there should not be any fine dangling bits.  The tree is a bit smaller than those we have had in the past.  This was partly because of the height of the conservatory roof and partly because we only have small cars to bring it home from the garden centre.

Like most people we have accumulated lots of ornaments over the years.  We have close friends who lived for many years in Luxembourg but used to come to Cornwall for Christmas and frequently brought us lovely examples of German and Luxembourgish ornaments.

We have two of these made from  glass with hand-painted wild flowers.  Also a German glass ball from a company that produces them annually.

And some made from nuts and seeds:

Then a long time ago I decided that Christmas tree ornaments are easily transported souvenirs.  We had one Christmas in New Zealand

where the pukeko bird is a frequent symbol.  This is made of paua shell (abalone).  We spent New Year that year in Sydney where I found this in the Opera House souvenir shop.

I learnt that there are Americans who are serious collectors of Christmas ornaments so we have one or two I picked up on stopovers in Los Angeles.  But the biggest Christmas industry I have found was in Salzburg.  Despite it being mid-summer there were shops full of Christmas decorations and Easter eggs.

I bought two wooden ornaments, one with a train on it because I was on a train-based holiday in the Tyrol.

The colour is actually quite yellow but the camera and Photoshop Elements could not deal with it.

One of my sisters lived in Moscow for three years in the nineties.  When I visited her we had a wonderful morning at a huge open-air market on the site of the Olympic village.  There were amazing collections of arts and crafts from all the former Soviet republics and it was extremely difficult deciding what to buy.  In the end I spent most of my money on a huge book but I also got two tiny dolls: Saint Nicholas

and a peasant girl.

I also took a lot of photographs of carpets and quilts which I must scan (this was in the days before digital photography).

This is just a selection of our ornaments.  There are also English ones and some whose origins I have forgotten.  Of course we have to have a cat

Having not had them out of the box last Christmas it has been good seeing them all again.


  1. Thank you for sharing this lovely collection of ornaments from all over. Especially like the abalone shell bird.
    Know all about kittens and holiday danglies and breakables. Lost my aged kitty back in October and this was the first year in many that I could have a poinsettia in the house, and put tinsel on the tree. Would much rather have dear Toby back than all the poinsettias in the world!!

  2. Could not find an email address for you, so apologies to all other readers for this person-to-person comment. I have just discovered the TV series, "Doc Martin" and am in love with the scenery of the Cornish coast!! I had admired the header photo you use, but had never looked at other images of Cornwall (which I now have Googled).

    Are small-medium villages really as charming as they appear, or are the prevailing tatty bits edited out of films? I love nature and all things beachy, and would take the financial plunge to travel to the UK if I believed it to be as lovely as it looks in photos.

  3. I keep my e-mail address private. Yes, Cornwall is full of charming villages but they get very crowded in our summer so be warned!