What’s on Your Christmas Tree!

November 27, 2014 in Editorials

Many historical facts document the first use of trees in a winter Christmas celebration dating back to 1510 in Northern Europe. From there, many customs and traditions developed throughout Europe and other countries with Christmas trees being symbolic for their live evergreen branches that were believed to bring solace and comfort and give life to new beginnings. In later centuries, trees began to add a lot of meaning to the Christmas spirit, as candles were lit and attached to branches of the trees, offering the first decorated trees.

In the 1840s, Queen Victoria was seen in photographs with her children gathered around a beautifully decorated tree, thus the Christmas tree tradition slowly moved across Great Britain and across America as well. It wasn’t until the 1930s that new traditions included trees as Christmas was celebrated in homes all across America. Families began to decorate trees with many items, from handmade roping made from cranberries and popcorn, to special sewed decorations and handmade wooden nativity sets, and animal ornaments to colorful balls, as well as sparkling newly-manufactured decorations.

Today, Christmas trees are lit up as early as November 1, and decorations come in many shapes and sizes. I love to see the trees going up in the Busy Bee customer’s shops. It gets more exciting each year, with many of the decorated trees being sold in early November. If you’re looking for something different, visit our customers for their holiday open houses and throughout December to find a fresh treasures for your tree. Many dealers look all year to find vintage and antique bulbs and ornaments, as well as offering the latest and greatest new decorations. Some of the new ones bring back memories of those your grandparents may have lovingly added to their own tree. Some are folk art and primitive reproductions; some offer the wooden soldier or stuffed elf or Santa with the strings that operate the arms and legs of each; others may include feathers or bright-jeweled beads or stones or even paper mache ornaments.

This year, I was amazed at the ideas used to decorate so many beautiful trees. I have enjoyed each of them, and I know you will as well. In Greenbriar Antique Merchants in the East Ridge Antique District, you’re greeted with a huge beautifully decorated and lighted tree that will get you in the Christmas Spirit. Greenbriar and Redbriar Antiques offer several different trees, and one that caught my eye used “old store items” and vintage signs, and most of these are tin and very colorful. They also have white and pink trees with Victorian miniatures and soft lights with new glass ornaments.

Hats were the focus on another tree, and colorful scarves used as roping in Loudon. Bobby Todd’s in Sweetwater has hydrangeas and small deer sculptures among snow-laden branches with birds and stockings nestled close to velveteen ribbon on one of their trees.

Antiques at the Mill in Sweetwater had a unique idea, using folk art Santas, fabric bows, stockings, gloves and vintage metal bells, giving a primitive look and warm appeal to their tree.

In Ringgold, Joy and the girls at Joy’s United Gifts shared several ideas; a cute and funny “No Pouting” white tree that had a head made from a vintage water pail, with painted eyes and carrot nose – almost snowman like, carrying what could’ve been a fishing pole. They decorated another with vintage kitchen accessories including a vegetable chopper and jar rings. All these ideas are fun and just get you to thinking what you might do yourself. Many homes place a tree in each room, so you could use many different kitchen items for decor from cookie cutters to colorful Christmas potholders and chip bag clips, to painted jar rings and more.

If you collect miniature perfume bottles, tie ribbons around the necks and decorate a small tree for the bathroom. Just about all of us have our favorite collectibles. I collect bears and each year decorate a four-foot tree with my small bears, always placing my angel bear as my topper.

We all love Christmas and decorate outdoors as well as inside. While visiting the shops in the Busy Bee, look for unusual and beautiful wreaths that many of the shops have for sale. Joy’s United Gifts in Ringgold has handmade some unique door wreaths for inside or out. Picket Fence Galleries in Sweetwater has lots of Christmas decorations and wreaths and boughs available in their floral gallery.

Enjoy every light and especially the star light above when you’re Christmas shopping or out enjoying the Christmas decor in your neighborhood. That light – so far away, reflects the first light – guiding the way to that heavenly manger where the Christ Child was born, and now lives within our hearts. My prayer for you this Christmas is that light within will guide you to a joyful and Blessed Christmas.

By Maxine B. Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee

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