Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Disorderly Tree: Characterized by Disorder; Irregular; Untidy; Confused.

A little lamb rests below our tree and represents what is to come for the baby Jesus.
A doll bassinet is set up as a manger for the baby Jesus.
Our elves are so forgetful...they leave a pair of shoes or a hat every year! 
These vintage inspired ornaments are some of my favorites!
Each year, I buy an ornament for each of my children.  We pick one that is relevant to something from the year.  I plan to give them their own box of collected ornaments when they are grown.
I make these keepsake ornaments by copying photos onto transparency sheets.  I then cut the photo out with a circle cutter and roll to fit into the glass ball.  I sprinkle some fine glitter in the ball and write the year on the outside.  These are all over my tree and tell a story through the years!
We make several of these snowflakes each year and save the growing collection.
Cones were made to hold candy canes and nuts, in keeping with our study of the Christmas tree.
An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
I made the 'Emmanuel' banner out of drop cloth and twine.
These vintage looking beads are one of many garlands on the tree.
My daughter made this gnome in art class and was so excited to give it to me for Christmas!  Isn't it the quirkiest thing?  I am very fond of it, probably because it was made by loving little fingers!  I think I look like this after being at the mall yesterday!
A felt hat hangs on the tree.  It was left by one of the elves last year.
We made this felt hat for our re-enactment of the Nativity.  The tree seems to be the 'catch all' for everything!

Why do we put up a tree for Christmas?  My children ask these questions and I don't have answers.  I have been on a quest the last couple of years to understand the events and symbols surrounding Christmas (and other holidays!)  Why do we do what we do?  If you are interested, read on!

Although the Christmas tree is generally associated with Christ, it predates Him by many centuries.  Many ancient groups (pagans, Hebrews, Chinese) celebrated the Winter Solstice (December 21st), the day of the year when the Sun begins its ascent in the sky, ushering in a fertile time of planting and bountiful harvests.  The evergreen tree represented eternal life and the promise of replenishment during the winter months.  Apples and fruit were hung on the tree to represent the plentiful food to come.  Candles were lit to symbolize the warmth and brightness of the sun.

Later, the Germans hung wafers on the tree along with the apples to represent the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  The apples were replaced by red glass balls in the Victorian Era.  The custom of having a Christmas tree in the home can be historically traced to 16th century Northern Germany.  The first documented use of an evergreen tree for Christmas was in the year 1510.  A small tree was decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers.  The children would collect these little treats on Christmas day.
The Christmas tree made its appearance in America in 1850 through a book in which the British Royal family was shown (edited) around a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle.  By the 1870's, a Christmas tree was common in America.  Several cities in America with German connections claimed to be the first to display a Christmas tree.
Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve and were not removed until after the twelfth day of Christmas (January 6.)  It was considered bad luck to have a tree up any sooner! 
Controversy and different interpretations have surfaced referring to a Christmas tree in the Bible. 
"Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
   and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
   for an everlasting sign,
   that will endure forever."
  ~ Isaiah 55:13 
One interpretation says this means the Messiah will live forever just like the evergreen tree that never dies and doesn't lose its leaves when autumn comes.  It refers to the evergreen tree as a joyful sign to the Lord in celebration of life everlasting that shall not be cut off. 

This disorderly tree offers many ways to teach my children about Jesus and a little bit of history.  I love the smell of the evergreen and I love all the ornaments that flood me with fond memories...ornaments from my childhood, ornaments from my children and some we have bought or made!  Staring at our Christmas tree is like glaring down memory lane!

Merry Christmas!

I am linking to these weekly sites and Christmas parties and
to the Holiday Home Tour at

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It's me said...

It all is so so beautiful......have a nice christmas week love love

Andrea said...

I love your tree, your beautifully wrapped gifts, your it all! A beautiful post. May I ask where you got your gift tags from? Love them!

Margitta said...

I love your family traditions, especially the empty manger...
"We celebrate an empty cross and a vacant tomb! Should we not celebrate Christmas with an empty manger? If you had a nativity scene with an empty manger, people would ask "Where is baby Jesus?"
Your answer? On the throne! That is the gospel. Victory is an empty manger, an empty cross and a vacant tomb but a full throne! Glory!"
Fred Kosin
I always set up a lamb at easter, but why not for christmas, too!?
Thanks for the inspiration...

Sixpence and A Blue Moon said...

Perfect tree...and so very beautiful. I love the vintage and homemade ornaments - makes it unique and special. Again, lovely photos.

Cindy said...

Love all the research that you have done. I find that my tree is also covered with memories - things my children have made; ornaments that I have purchased on vacations; items from prior generations. Not confusion at all - a life well lived.

nannykim/spindlecottage said...

Great stuff here. Love the lamb and the empty manger waiting. Love the idea of the pictures in the bulbs.

Maria Babin said...

so beautiful! love it! those messy trees are the best!

Savannah Granny said...

Thank you so much for your post. Your tree is beautiful and I love the unique ornaments that you and your family have made. My children and grandchildren are grown up now. I gave my children their special ornaments also. I continue to purchase a new ornament for each loved one each year. We love Christmas, it's meaning and the memories these ornaments hold. You are a loving and thoughtful mother. God bless you, Merry Christmas to you and your family, Ginger

Carol Bennett said...

I love a tree full of memories. I gave my daughter all her childhood Hallmark ornaments, the year she bought her first house! She loved it and I like seeing them on her tree now. Her daughter is two this year and she's doing the same tradition for her!
Merry Christmas!
Carol in GA

Vanessa said...

Oh, I LOVE the idea of the empty manger Christie! I'm definitely going to be doing that next year with my kiddos! And your tree is just gorgeous too. I also give each child an ornament every year and always think how fun it will be to give them the full box when they leave the home...sniff...sniff. I'm sure Ian's wife is going to LOVE all of the train ornaments! LOL! Truly, though, everything you have done is beautiful and meaningful and captures the truth of Christmas as well as the magic of it all. Oh, and I love the last post with the names for Jesus that your kiddos do. Great idea!
Blessings to you my friend this Christmas and always!

Karen said...

Beautifully explained. I love your lamb & empty stroller/basket. Have a wonderful Christmas.

craftyles said...

Beautiful tree and I love your ornaments! Merry Christmas!

Jules said...

Love all of your decorations! Very creative! :o) I don't know if you remember, but I mentioned a book back in Oct. about Christmas traditions and how it actually started. I started today and am going to do my best to post something every day this week on the traditions of Christmas, if you'd like to check it out. :o) Enjoyed your post too. In this book it talks about some of the things you mentioned. May your Christmas be merry and bright!

Ames said...

Lovely tree. I adore the ornament your daughter made. So cute!~Ames

Unknown said...

Your tree is so special and meaningful, I love the decorations, I love the lamb and your simply but beautifully wrapped gifts.
We actually did a presentation on the Christmas tree and the meanings of the decorations as part of our special children's service at church a few years ago.

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...

I absolutely love your blog - your style is so inspiring to me. The manger is beautiful and such a perfect reminder of why we're celebrating. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.

Anonymous said...

Great collaberation of history and traditions and symbolism and personal memories.
Plus it is beautiful and fun to look at.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely Christmas tree you have and I adore your last snap! Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Unknown said...

Such a meaningful tree! I love the symbolism of the lamb. I'm going to be on the lookout for a lamb for my tree.

CHRISTmas Blessings!

Elisabeth said...

So happy I found your blog. I absolutely love the vintage trucks!

Sharing with Sherri said...

Your holiday decor all looks so beautiful and festive. I really enjoyed seeing all your pretties!

Merry Christmas!

DANA said...

I found you through Polly Want a Crafter and I love this! I wanted to invite you to enter my $50 American Express gift card giveaway that ends in a few days! I also have a link party going on this week! Keep up the good blogging! -Dana

Jana said...

I love the Naught or Nice tags!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Your tree is so pretty and holds some really special those paper cones...the banner and the sweet lamb. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

I love the sheep and the basket ready for baby Jesus. Do you have a ceramic Jesus or do you use a baby doll?

Noble Vintage said...

I have been looking everywhere for a lamb just like that to put under our tree!!!!!!! Where did you get it? I remembered seeing one in a catalog a few years ago, but they don't sell it anymore!
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Donnie said...

Just beautiful. I especially loved the little elf shoes.

Mykl said...

This is such a beautiful tree and I love how sentimental it is! I see some elements in your tree I would love to incorporate into mine next year!

Thank you for the inspiration.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville said...

I LOVE your tree and all of the family history and traditions it holds. Its amazing!!!!! I absolultey adore that little lamb! Whereever did you find it? It's gorgeous!
Thank you for linking up to Thrifty Thursday/Bloggeritaville today. Wishing you continued blessings, love, peace and a very Merry Christmas

Sunny Simple Life said...

Lovely! We did the tree in our galvanized tub too this year. Looks great!

Peggy said...

I know others have asked the same thing....where might I purchase a lamb like you precious.

Unknown said...

Have you seen Lisa Welchel's book, The Adventure of Christmas? She does a fabulous job of teaching the traditions of Christmas. I use it in my third grade classroom. LOVE the "Emmanuel" garland on the tree.

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