The first Christmas tree I put up in our first apartment was an affront to taste.
I made blue and silver bows from ribbon and stuck them all over the tree and then loaded it with blue and silver balls with so much glitter it looked like Barbie puked on it. I assume Barbie vomits glitter and poops sweet-tarts.
I then made a giant blue and silver ribbon that adorned the very top of the tree. I stepped back and said, “This tree is beautiful and doesn’t look at all like the bastard lovechild of Gaudy and Garish.” My new husband, a newly minted permanent resident at the time, stepped back and probably thought, “America hurts my eyes and I wish my wife would stop trying to get me to say ‘focus'”
Each year since, my tree has become less “BOOM! [glitter spray]” and more an inviting, warmly lit tree filled with handmade or classic ornaments that have meaning to me and/or my children and husband. The garland is made of red and green wooden beads and the tree is filled with snowflakes, angels, reindeer and knitted mittens in addition to the occasional handmade-at-school ornament made with love.
This year, we added two new completely unique ornaments to the tree thanks to the awesome folks over at The Pittsburgh Glass Center, where in addition to glass-making classes, once a month you can spend 10 minutes making your very own crafts. At their invitation, I headed down with my son to try one of their Make-it-Now workshops.
Here I am looking inquisitive in safety glasses while learning about how red and white mixed will make a yucky brown color, so don’t choose those two.
(photo courtesy of Nathan J. Shaulis)
When I blew my ornament, I kept taking little breaths, afraid I would make a mistake and cause exploding glass to litter the place.
But when my son made his, he acted like he was in charge of personally sending a rocket into orbit with just the sheer force of his lungs.
His ornament, it turned out, is bigger than mine.
He chose green and red swirled while I chose red and blue swirled. We picked them up a few days later, tied some ribbon on them and now we have two new ornaments to go with our new memories.
I can’t encourage you enough to check the Glass Center out. Their next Make-it-Now workshop is in January where you can make glass beads and tiles, but I’m particularly excited for the February workshop celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Now, I’m going to go see if I can find pictures of that hideously decorated Christmas tree, but I imagine those photographs committed suicide from the self-hate by now.