Wednesday Vignette – the tree

For the past couple of years, we skipped the Christmas tree altogether. This year, my husband broke down. “I think we should get one”, he said. Of course – anything for my best beloved, so we did. I’m still feeling rather ambivalent towards Christmas, and not at all “in the spirit”, but I admit I had fun unpacking all those ornaments again. I have a few favorites…

Being a Swedipino family (meaning I'm a Swede, and my husband is Filipino) my mother in law gave me these wonderful capiz shell stars called "Paról ". I like to hang them in front of a light as they are translucent.

Being a Swedipino family (meaning I’m a Swede, and my husband is a Filipino) my mother in law gave me these wonderful capiz shell stars called “Paról “. I like to hang them in front of a light as it makes them glow. The word Parol comes from the Spanish word for ‘lantern’ – farol.  I also really like my little woven hearts – they were made from birch bark. The little dyed peas and toothpick star is not necessarily a favorite, but remarkable only because I made it in kindergarten. I think my mother gave it back to me at some point. Can’t believe it’s still around!

Sheepskin and felt gnome ornament

I love the six shaggy little felt and sheepskin gnomes I acquired years ago at a Christmas market in Stockholm. I don’t even really remember where the translucent red balls came from, but I think it was some unlikely place like the Dollar store. What a bargain, huh?

These little birds were attached to a wedding gift from my friend Terri. I have no idea where she got them, but found them adorable, so they are now doing Christmas duty in our house.

These little love birds were attached to a wedding gift from my friend Terri. I have no idea where she got them, but I find them adorable, so they are now doing Christmas duty in our house.


These little gnomish gentlemen were both gifts from my mother – I love them to pieces! Their somewhat grumpy demeanor remind me of the two old guys from the Muppet Show, as they preside over the holiday celebrations. They are obviously not on the tree, but, like the other ornaments, unpacked once a year. The short one is standing on is a fossilized whale vertebrae – a gift from my stepfather. I think it makes a great soap box for the gnome’s opinionated rants, don’t you? In Sweden, we don’t have a Santa Claus, per se. Instead, each home or homestead has its own gnome – a caretaker of sorts, and the “genius loci” – or phenomenological spirit of place.

I suppose I just gave you a quadruple set of vignettes, but then again, this is the season of excessive abundance. I wish I was more in the mood for Christmas, but I just can’t seem to get there. A trip to the mountain might help – after all, Christmas without snow is just plain wrong. At least to a Swede…

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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27 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – the tree

  1. Tree decorations hold many memories

  2. I LOVE the love birds. And I have to get to Sweden in the next couple of years, I’m determined.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, yes you do, Valorie! Granted, it is awfully dark around now, but those christmas markets are wonderful. Especially, if it’s cold and covered in white snow. You can usually buy a cup of hot, steaming glögg to warm you up – it is simply wonderful!

  3. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    You’ve got some great “natural” ornaments — most of what’s on our tree (when it gets up) is plastic, with much of it electronic (thanks to Mom and her yearly gifts of Star Trek ornaments). I am also ambivalent toward Christmas — not quite Scrooge but getting there maybe? 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Wow – Star Trek ornaments! That sounds completely unique and different! As for attitudes, I can lend you my Grinch T-shirt. I’ve worn it a lot lately… 😉

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Snow always helps! Hope you get to see some soon. Our tree is up but has no ornaments on it yet. Maybe on Saturday… We’ve skipped the decorations for years but last year we decorated again. Like you, I’m not really into the decorating like I used to be. Love the toothpick and pea ornament idea and will do this with my kids at school next year! My WV offering is here:

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Peter. I think a trip to the mountain is in order, as it would restore my attitude somewhat. If I recall correctly, for the pea and toothpick star, we soaked dried peas in dyed water for a few days, until they were soft enough to stick a toothpick in. Don’t quote me on the length of time, though – remember I was six. Have fun with your kids, whenever you do this. 🙂

  5. Alison says:

    I am never in the mood for Christmas, so at least you have grumpy company. I adore your gnomes, the sweet little love birds. Thanks for sharing your decorations.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Alison! The gnomes are such a perfect mirror of my Christmas spirit (as in wondered, observing bemusement), they just have to be at the top of my faves, and I feel my kindred spirit in you too! It helps to be in good company! 🙂

  6. Oh those gnomes! They’re grand.

    I am usually full of Christmas cheer, decorating more than I should, listening Christmas music 24/7 and making Andrew endure all the movies and animated specials. This year I just ain’t got it. At least I know why, so I am hopeful it’s a passing thing and next year I’ll be back to normal.

    My vignette is ever so slightly on theme:

    • annamadeit says:

      Hmmm… you left me wondering what happened this year to dampen your spirits??? I guess I need to catch up on some reading this weekend… Whatever it is, I hope it’s a passing thing too. As for old movies, I absolutely love Snowmiser and Heatmiser from A Year without Santa Claus. And my head has been full of Mary Poppins songs this entire week. (Thank you Target.) “It’s a jolly holiday with Mary…. ” … you know the one, right?

  7. Pauline says:

    We always had a tree when the children were at home, but then we got a dog with a very waggy tail, so a tree took a back seat for safety’s sake! Love the star which you made many years ago, we still have decorations that the children made when they had just started school, they are very precious!

  8. Elvis says:

    Your tree makes me wistful for a green one. I have loved decorating my mid-century aluminum tree (free on the curb, no less!), but what makes it really special is the ornaments that go back to my childhood. They connect us to our past in a unique way, I think. Here’s hoping some snow and a comfortable level of holiday spirit will reach you, Anna!
    My contribution is green, too:

    • annamadeit says:

      I just realized you said ‘aluminum’. So Americanized… 😉 Merry Christmas to you, Jane – I hear they got lots of that white stuff up on the mountain this week! Yeay!

  9. Kris P says:

    There’s nothing like a Christmas ornament to conjure up memories. My tree is a mish-mash of decorations collected over the years, some dating back to my childhood, others made by me and my Christmas scrooge husband during our early years together, and still others gifts from friends. I haven’t bought any new ones in years but still they seem to proliferate. I agree that it’s fun unearthing them each year but I do hate the process of de-Christmasing when the season comes to an end.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, I hate that part too! As I stood there on the step stool trying to get everything into its right place, I had premonitions of having to undo it all. At that moment, I grumpily cursed myself for having agreed to create all that work for myself. For in the end it always seems, I’m the one doing all the decorating. Why, I don’t know…

  10. i hope to break out some cherished xmas ornaments to place on the huge swag i am making out of the debris from the snowstorm….

  11. rickii says:

    Ho Ho Ho…I love the snow!…so I put some in my vignette this time:
    Your tree has put me in the mood. Keep looking at it: I don’t see how it can fail.

  12. hb says:

    Those are lovely: all one of a kind ornaments, full of memories, are always the best.

  13. Evan says:

    I’m not in the mood for Christmas, either. All of us bah humbuggers should get together for an un-Christmas party, sort of like an un-birthday. I do like your gnomes, and love that you compared them to the hecklers from the Muppets. They are two of my favorite characters out of that whole cast. My vignette is part of a longer post this week.

  14. Pingback: The Big de-Grinching | Flutter & Hum

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