Oh, Christmas Branch?

Here’s something fun and positive! Last week, the building where I work put up their lobby decorations. They are really nice and subtle this year, with logs and sticks as prominent elements. One decoration caught my eye:

These sturdy twigs with a few glass ornaments on them are lovely and simple.
No matter how hard we tried, we could NOT get the giant stocking left over from many years ago to attach to the backhoe.

They brought back memories of my mother’s favorite decoration back when we lived in south Florida, where people placed a small dead tree painted white in front of their picture window. From it, they hung lovely satin balls on ribbon, with a spotlight on the whole thing. It was so pretty.

When I got home to the Hermits’ Rest, I focused on outdoor things. Kathleen and I re-used many decorations yesterday to brighten up the ranch. As we did that, I assessed our tree situation. The bare-branched “nature tree” we keep up all year around finally quit lighting up, so it really can’t be a Christmas tree this year. It lasted many years, since we first started building the house, so I can’t be too upset with it.

The nature tree, back in its prime.
There. It’s on a trellis. And full of rocks. No treats here.

I looked at the inexpensive tree we had decorated for the float this year. I perhaps could have used it, but it had a bit of an accident on the way back from the parade. We will just cannibalize the ornaments and lights for future projects at the office.

Fine, I thought, we’ll do without. Then I remembered that decoration back in Austin. Hey, there’s a woods over there. I bet there are fallen branches that might work as a “tree” this year.

I marched out into the woods with my trusty dogs (without Penney, who was rolling in cow poop for the second day in a row), and searched for a branch. I figure it’s sort of like how people go to the Christmas tree farm, only I won’t be killing anything live. Save a tree, Suna!

It’s a BRANCH!

I considered a couple of shapely young mesquite trees, but dang, their thorns are BIG. Eventually, I came upon a tree that had lost some branches in one of the floods, and it had a really nice limb, all covered with lichen and moss, which I wouldn’t even have to cut. It won.

Branch with lights.

I think Lee and Kathleen may have thought my idea strange, at first, but then Lee went with me to get lights, so he must have approved. Kathleen and I then hung a bunch of my old ornaments from back when I lived in Round Rock, and the tree came to life!

Getting pretty proud of ourselves.

I got a little misty when I came across the little train ornament that actually runs when plugged into a tree light. It made me think of how much my older son loved trains, and how he probably won’t even say hi for Christmas this year. Last Christmas was the last time I saw him.

The little Christmas tree with a train that goes around it, from my kids’ childhood.

But mostly we had fun and were proud to show off our handiwork when our Sunday Dinner friends arrived. I think I’ve come up with a new tradition, and plan to go search for a Christmas branch next year! I’ll save plastic and trees! And I can just take it back to the woods from whence it came. Nice.

Quirky but perky Christmas branch!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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