Our Christmas tree isn't likely to end up on the cover of any magazine but you can trace lifetimes through its branches. I recommend that anyone looking for an easy Christmas tradition to take advantage of the ease and relative small expense of Christmas ornaments. One can spend quite a lot on expensive bulbs but it's not necessary. I have the classic Bronner's name ornaments that my parents and grandparents always had. We have baby's firsts and tiny little ornaments that I carefully removed from gifts. We even have a few that I bought from Hudson's when I was in high school and hid away in my hope chest for someday...now they are antiques! We have a couple of angels in Native American dress from the days of Southwestern decorating. We have some that were gifts, specifically a hedgehog from a girlfriend of mine that was given to me just for the silliness of it that she knew I'd appreciate. There are some that are of no specific significance except that we liked them. The Mr. likes birds and at some point one of us thought a big brown owl fit the theme. Well, it doesn't but there it sits on my tree. There's a bass guitar, a dalmatian in honor of our old dog Jazz, a little King David from my Sunday School teaching days. You get the idea.
And of course, there are the Radko ornaments the Mr. and I have taken to buying every year on our anniversary. This year, it was a squirrel. The classic Christmas squirrel. Of course, a squirrel. We chose a squirrel because we noticed as summer turned cooler and Autumn rolled in that we seemed to have a squirrel in our yard who was either a little slow, a little lazy or a genius. We don't know which. We noticed the squirrel's habits when I was cleaning up the patio furniture. I have one of those big pillar candles in a dish surrounded by decorative stones. I was smiling at the tiny squirrel prints in the dusty table top when I noticed nestled among the stones...a walnut. Brilliant? Hidden in plain sight?
A week or so later I was backing out of the driveway and noticed shoved into the wrought iron porch rails another walnut. Hmm.
Then there were the walnuts found crammed down into the pillows on the chairs around the fire pit.
Finally laying in bed one morning listening to the birds I heard another sound. Clunk. Roll, roll, roll. Clunk. Roll, roll, roll. I can't say that this is an eye witness report, but I swear to you it sounded exactly like walnuts or acorns being dropped into the gutters and rolling down the down spouts.
Time will tell whether the local squirrel spend a frustrating winter digging for nuts in our yard or whether this particular squirrel will spend a leisurely season retrieving his meals from here and there without the inconvenience of digging through snow and frozen ground. In the meantime...
I present to you Sara's Christmas idea number one. Ornaments. I know, I'm a maverick.