Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shiny Objects

What kind of art do I do in December? Answer: Decorate a big Christmas tree. Or, others might change the emphasis to say: Decorate a big Christmas tree.

My husband, who loves a decorated tree but not the decorating, is beginning to think this twelve footer of ours is gigantic. He has been making suggestions that it would be fine if I only hung, say, three hundred decorations and let the rest stay in their boxes.

But that doesn't work for me. I need the tree encrusted with every shiny bauble and ball we have. For one thing, I am attracted to shiny, glittery objects. "Hollywood," I call it. Besides, every ornament on the tree is a meme. "My mother gave me this one." "This one was a birthday present from Jennie." "Christopher made this one in Sunday school." "Eric and I got this one in Germany." "This one is from Denmark." "Oh, this was Aunt Lil's." Boxes and boxes and boxes of memories get hung on the tree.

This year I was hobbled by a new knee and counseled by my physical therapist not to be on a ladder. Going up and down wasn't going to damage the knee, but, apparently the nerve receptors near my knee can't yet send clear messages to my brain that the muscles need to make a correction to keep me balanced. My friend Roz came to the rescue.

Roz came with her artist's eyes and trimmed a part of the tree too high for me. And this was a real gift: Roz is the friend who doesn't even like to go over high bridges let alone stand on a tall ladder. You can read her comments on the tree trimming and photos of our tree on her December 8 and 13 blog entries.

We had lots of laughs. A good one at my expense when we talked about how Eric does not like to trim the tree. "I don't put things in the right places. You always end up moving most of what I hang up anyway," he says. "It's not that he puts things in the wrong places, I just need to tweek things, say, when I have a large ornament and there is no place to put it except where he put a tiny one. Or maybe three pink ones don't look the best hanging in a row. It is just a matter of composition. I move things I hang up constantly," I told Roz. "No wonder he doesn't like to trim the tree!" Hmm, now I see his point. There you have it: Roz, friend, artist and marriage coach. Eric did do the rest of the top and it looks terrific.

All in all, when the tree is all trimmed, the boxes back in the basement and the tree lights turned on, the week of work is worth it. Good thing it doesn't take as long to take it down.


Mark Granlund said...

WOW! What an amazing and beautiful tree!

journalrat said...

Diane, as you know you have created a monster—now I look everywhere for ornaments, and since they are all on sale at this time of year (January) I'm finding them. I had great fun helping you trim your tree. I can't remember laughing so hard. It was great to hear all the stories, and thank you for putting up with the "who's this from?" "where did you get this" barrage of questions. I hope you make a book of ornaments so your grandchildren and their children can have all these memories down on paper!

And many thanks to Eric for feeding us so well!

havepencilwilltravel said...

The tree would not have gotten decorated without Roz's help this year. (Thanks again, Roz.) And, becoming a Monster Ornament Collector is not a bad thing--especially when the ornaments are ending up on my tree. Yes, there are thirty-nine (!) more from Roz: two hand made, bead confections; two straight-from-Patina gems; and two boxes full of the hard-to-find tiny and smallish sizes perfect for filling in empty spots. You see, Roz has now become a seasoned trimmer with an eye for the perfect, tree destined, shiny object.

Lisa Erickson said...

That is an amazingly beautiful tree so dense with memories and color and light, thank you for sharing!

havepencilwilltravel said...

I am so glad you enjoyed the tree if only in photos. You are right, it is packed with memories. Eric and I took it down last weekend leaving it up long enough to celebrate in true Scandinavian fashion. After helping me trim the tree this year, my friend Roz had given me a wonderful suggestion: document each ornament so the provenance of each item could be noted in a book along with a photo of each one. Then I could self publish a book for my family so they would know the history of each ornament. Alas, that did not happen this year. I could plan it for a summer project but I know better, I will be outside painting landscapes. Several years ago I did photograph groups of ornaments as I took them down. My thinking: if anything happened to the ornaments we better have something to show the insurance adjuster. But, we need the book--otherwise I will be the only one to remember that Uncle Otey made the little tiny elf out of pipecleaners.