Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Great Christmas Tree Tour: Carla Olson Gade

Last Christmas Eve we moved into our new (hundred year old) home here in Maine. It was a long awaited dream for me and my husband. A home to hold old traditions and to create anew. We somehow managed to get our Christmas tree up, and although we couldn’t get the top lights to work, the tree looked as bright and beautiful as ever. Yes, we’ve had prettier trees before, but last year’s understated d├ęcor with sparse trimmings did not lack in stating what was most necessary: Welcome Home!

I managed to put some favorite ornaments on the Christmas tree, which lent to the nostalgic feel of it, just like placing some familiar decorations around our house helped it feel homey to us. My style is a bit Old World eclectic. Some of my favorite ornaments are a couple of Scandinavian straw stars (a nod to our family heritage), an Olive wood nativity ornament from Israel, a few small handmade European doll ornaments, some blown glass. I’ve been collecting painted “mercury” glass figurines and one of my favorites is a pirate, gifted to me by an author friend (you’ll have to guess who).

You might find a few antique Christmas postcards tucked into the branches of our tree, some gold Poinsettias and bows, white snowflakes or frosted pine cones. I’ve been going with white lights the past few years, but before that my tree always twinkled in blue and was dressed in blue and gold ribbons. An angel in white and blue velvet still looks down from the tree top.

Like many families, I suppose, we also have a few kindergarten ornaments made by our now adult sons that have earned permanent residence on our family tree, a tiny angel that was on my Christmas stocking when I was a child, even a vintage knee-hugger elf. Last year we added a “First Year in Our New Home” keepsake gingerbread house ornament. I’m very nostalgic, so many of the ornaments tend to have some type of meaning associated with them, but most important are the ornaments that illuminate the true meaning of Christmas.

Three years ago our first grandchild looked with wonder at the pretty lights and sparkly trinkets hanging from our Christmas tree. So, I make it a point to put unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches that are within his reach. Last year, our grandson eagerly retrieved the stuffed moose and bear sitting under the tree that waited just for him. Although they were not wrapped, the glittering tree draped each gift in the same enchanted invitation it has for generations. A gift for you. But to me, the tree is the gift.

Carla Olson Gade has written three Christmas stories, one about Christmas trees!

"Upon a Christmas Tree Schooner" is included in Vol. 1 & 2 of A Cup of Christmas Cheer from Guideposts Books and "The Memory Shop" is featured in Vol. 3 & 4. Her novella, "'Tis the Season," is from bestselling Mistletoe Memories. From Carla's heart to yours, Merry Christmas!


  1. I love old ornaments and I do have a few myself. I just put up a four foot tree on a table and this year it looks pretty bad because we have a kitten in the house right now and he has knocked it over twice already, need I say more. Now we have a vacuum cleaner setting under the tree to keep the cat away. The kitten is afraid of the vacuum cleaner and it is working pretty good to keep the cat away.

  2. I cracked up over your secret weapon under the tree! Good thinking.

  3. Whatever works to keep the kitty away! Keeping the tree from harm is always a big challenge at Christmastime. When I was a kid the tree fell right over on me. I must have been playing with it. Ooops.