Friday, December 2, 2016

Our German Christmas Tree

When I was in high school, I saw the most beautiful Christmas tree ever at my Sunday  School teacher's house. We had gathered there on two different evenings, after visiting two unique Christmas programs. The first was The Living Christmas Tree at Trinity Baptist Church, San Antonio. I'll never forget sitting in the audience, watching the humongous tree quiver here and there before the program. Finally, when the program began, the choir popped out of the tree. (I'm sure a google search would bring up photos of other Living Christmas Tree programs.) The other was a pageant at Castle Hills Baptist Church, also in San Antonio. The first part of the program was the 12 Days of Christmas. The second part was the story of Jesus, from prophecy to his birth, to his life, death and resurrection. Everything was acted with real animals, including a donkey! Wow! Talk about bringing the gospel story to life!
After each program we drove to my Sunday School teacher's house for hot chocolate and cookies. We learned how to cross stitch by making pillows for our moms for Christmas gifts.
Meanwhile I was amazed that there were 2 Christmas trees in her home, each unique and wonderful. The tree in the front formal room, which could be seen from the street, was flocked and had only colored lights on it. The lights were those huge bulbs. In the family room in the back of the house near the fireplace, was a tree with only white lights (little bulbs) and small, delicate, wooden ornaments.
I liked both trees a lot, but the second tree mesmerized me. My Sunday School teacher said it was a German Christmas tree. Her husband had been stationed in Germany and they had just returned to America.
Fast forward to my first Christmas with my husband. I had told him I had always wanted trees like my Sunday School teacher had. He did not like the idea of a flocked tree, especially one with only colored lights, that were huge. However he did like the idea of the German Christmas tree. We went shopping at a Christmas store to look for wooden ornaments.
I'll never forget that trip. We went to Central Park Mall, in San Antonio, where Bob Lapine from KSLR was hosting a concert with Phillip Sandifer. I learned of Sandifer from my roommate in college. We bought his cassette tape which I played every single Christmas. I can't find a cassette player anymore, and I'm sure my tape is about to bust. I just did a google search and guess who I found? And his Christmas CD, "Christmas in our Time" is available for download! I've got to do that! I love the music on there, some of which hearkens to the Texas Hill Country from what I remember!
Well, we walked around the mall, which was always a treat because it was one of the 2 big malls that had huge Christmas displays that I remembered as a kid. The mall actually had a Christmas store! Although we found some wooden ornaments there, they didn't look anything like the small, delicate ones my Sunday School teacher had. Well, what to do?  These looked more like American ornaments, but they were cute, and wooden. We couldn't afford more than one of each, so my husband volunteered to make a batch using one of each store bought one as patterns. Here they are!

This deer is one of the originals, because our bows are red, although I like this one better!

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A bear...

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A sheep...

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There is also a goose. I'll have to post that photo later.

One of our wedding presents had these crystal bells on it which I saved for our tree. The burgundy bow was the color I chose for our wedding.

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Well, I liked how the white lights twinkled through the crystal bells so much, that over time I decided to find other faux crystal ornaments to add a bit of twinkle to the tree. Here are some of my favorites.

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My husband thought the tree too simple. He wanted more color, especially by day. I had to agree. We agreed on red. I've tried various things over the years. In the beginning we had wooden cranberries. Then I had red bows. A few years ago I settled on these red balls which seem to be the right touch.

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