The story of our lives

December 15, 2009

Violet Posy, and her lovely Christmas Decorations Tour Carnival, have got me thinking.

Every family’s christmas tree tells a story. Last night, before I saw Violet’s post, I was laughing at ours. Well, mostly at our rather stately angel. There she sits at the top of the tree, in her velvet robes with real feather wings, looking gorgeous – and ridiculously enormous. She is one of my notorious internet purchases.

Something happens to me when I buy things over the internet. I lose all sense of proportion. I once ordered a jar of Branston pickle that weighed in at nearly a kilo. Yes, really. Did you even know they made them that big? I’ve also had vats of vanilla essence and dozens of eggs. Once, the Tesco man delivered six carrier bags, each one full only of bananas. That time, I could run along behind his van screaming, ‘take my bananas away!’ (and it’s only surprising they didn’t take me away too) but, with the angel, we are well and truly stuck. As soon as the girls saw her, they took her to their hearts and she’s loomed large – very large – over our trees ever since, for years now. This year, John Lewis gave me a lovely, elegant, SMALL tree topper, complete with gold twirly bits, and I did attempt to put it on the toppermost top of the tree. But I was secretly glad when the girls rebelled and insisted on our enormous but lovely angel. Her name is Elizabeth.


Further down, under the angel’s voluminous skirts, we always have a little cluster of birds. As our cat, Mme Bovary, spends her life decimating the local birdlife, we rather like to have a few symbolic birds on the tree. Child One has had this pink one for years, with her tail getting a little more straggly every time she emerges from the cellar.

pink bird

I bought this purple birdie for Child Two’s birthday last week.

purple birdie

There are also two little umbrellas dangling on the tree somewhere, given us by a dear friend. They’re an odd Christmas tree addition, but somehow it works.

There’s also a Russian matrioska doll we got visiting Mr X’s cousin in Moscow when Child One was two. By rights, I suppose X should have custody of these – but since he got the Royal Worcester wedding china while I got the lumpen stuff from Ikea, I feel I can hang on to them.


This lovely creation was made by Child One at a Christmas workshop years ago. It’s a little scary, frankly, but very, very precious. I’m glad she is now past the age when she wanted to throw it away – she now looks on it fondly as a long-ago memory, while for me, it was yesterday when she brought it home and unveiled it to a rather shocked mama.

Down at the bottom of the tree, we put the unbreakable ornaments, so that Mme Bovary can have fun playing festive football every night when we’re asleep. Each morning, we’ll find baubles scattered all over the hall where they’ve been batted by a determined little paw.

This little red angel is one of Child Two’s first purchases.


She saved up for ages, finally making it all the way to one euro (we lived abroad then) and firmly believed she’d paid for it herself. I made up the difference, of course.

This bauble was once filled with pralines. Well, we did live in Belgium – everything was filled with pralines.


So there it is, the story of our tree. Each bauble has a memory, some recent, some long ago, some as sweet as the pralines once were, and some sadly bitter, but all of them part of our history. I love them all.

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  • suburbia December 16, 2009 at 1:47 am

    You are so right about the stories on the tree. My mums is classic! Full from top to toe (not particularly tasteful!), some of the decorations on it I made at nursery school. Can’t believe she has not lost them. Mine is beginning to shape up with memories too, home-made ones from both children, though I am already forgetting which child made which decoration!

    Love yours, and Elizabeth!!

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:30 am

      Thanks, S. I confess I have ‘lost’ quite a number of hand-made decorations on the way …but some are too precious to go, definitely x

  • Chic Mama December 16, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Thanks for taking us around your tree, really interesting.
    I really laughed at the banana incident I did a similar thing, can’t remember what we ended up with twelve of….
    Love the angel.
    Last year I decided to change the ‘theme’ ‘colours’ of our main tree as I couldn’t bear putting on the ones the husband used to put on it. OCD = him in charge of main tree.
    All the decorations the children have made go on their smaller tree in the playroom….just wouldn’t go with my theme. ;0)

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:31 am

      Ooooh, I do envy you having a tasteful tree. Sadly there’s no chance here, between the girls and the cat, and no room to have a grown-up gorgeous one just for me. Sniff! Mind you, I do love it the way it is x

  • Laura December 16, 2009 at 3:37 am

    I love the Amazonian angel!

    I saw some sparkly birds in Paperchase this weekend but had to refrain.

    One new decoration a year is the rule and this year I bought’s gingerbread man. He is so handsome.

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:33 am

      Amazonian is the word for Elizabeth, definitely. I caught sight of her when parking the car outside the house yesterday and was quite taken aback. Most of the time I can forget how big she is ….not then, I nearly crashed into the neighbour’s car. Quite silly. Never mind. I shall go and have a look at your gingerbread man …

  • Littlemummy December 16, 2009 at 4:50 am

    I love the angel too, and the handmade bauble 🙂

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:33 am

      Thanks, Littlemummy. Has Erin made you any treasures yet?! It’s a poisoned chalice, I can tell you. I bet those nursery teachers cackle as they see the little ones going home with their creations …xx

  • Liz@VioletPosy December 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

    I love your decorations! You’re right every one of our baubles has a memory associated with it. I think it’s what makes Christmas so special and what a lot of people don’t ‘get’ about it. Wishing you and yours a fabulous Christmas x

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:34 am

      Thanks, Liz, and thanks for the idea – I really enjoyed it though got a bit teary! But I suppose that’s Christmas. Have a lovely festive time x

  • rosiero December 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    your ornaments are very lovely and it is interesting how we gather them from all over and they have a story to tell.

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:35 am

      Thanks, Rosiero, yes, I really enjoyed my little tour of the tree, funny how it’s such a revealing thing. Have a lovely and peaceful Christmas x

  • Twitted by DulwichDivorcee December 17, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    […] This post was Twitted by DulwichDivorcee […]

    • Sparx December 23, 2009 at 3:59 am

      I’m quite envious of the scary one, we’ve not had a Spud-related Christmas ornament yet… perhaps that’s something I can do with him today come to think of it! I love people telling stories about their trees, it’s half the fun of the tree.

      • Dulwich Divorcee December 28, 2009 at 9:03 am

        Oh, Sparx, I feel you’re probably going to rue that envy when he brings the first of the festive creations home ….all I can say is, thank God some of them fall to bits! Did I say that? Bad mother?! Happy New Year, DDx

  • Rosie Scribble December 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    It is all very lovely although the Russian doll’s head spooked me a little!

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 18, 2009 at 5:36 am

      I think that was Child One’s handmade bauble, which is indeed very, very scary! The pic of the Russian doll didn’t come out properly, for some reason. I think the cat jogged me as she tried to destroy more baubles …..

  • lynda Howells December 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog today. I have two grown up children and l had until 3 years ago kept evry single Christmas decoration they had ever made plus many from all the p[lave in the woprld we had lived. Then disaster struck when the box they were kept in dissapeared from the flats store room!!!!! A few tears were shed by all of us as that was £4 years of Christmas memories down the pan but we have started again and at the moment have a siver theme going on! One new tradition we started with our children,( Jenny is 34 and divorced and Andrew is 33 and just married,) was each Christmas since they had their own homes, we give them a decoration for their tree. It made me smile to see your fairy. Long may she last guarding the top of your tree!!Hax lynda

    • lynda Howells December 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      sorry… my reply should have said…”that was 34 years of christmas memories” NOT “£4″sorry is christmas and my mind is stuck on the £ sign l fear!xlynda

  • Geekymummy December 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Lovely! Makes me nostalgic for my mum and dads tree back home. They still have the ornaments I chose as a child, and I’m nearly 40

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 21, 2009 at 5:03 am

      Awwww! But hang on a minute, does that mean I have to hang on to the world’s most ginormous angel for another 30 years?! Arg!

  • Metropolitan Mum December 21, 2009 at 4:19 am

    OMG, this IS an enormous angel! Love the purple birdie. You’ll have to share more of your praline fuelled life in Belgium. I slowly begin to realise where the title Schoko Herz comes from.

    Have a lovely Christmas with your family!
    xx MM

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 21, 2009 at 5:04 am

      Ah, those pralines …..someone gave me a box last night, but English ones are just not the same! Hope you have a fantastic Christmas too with your little one xx

  • English Mum December 22, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Ah the perils of internet shopping. I once got a bottle of tomato sauce so big it didn’t fit in any of my cupboards.

    Yes, that clowny thing is a little scary. Loving the angel tho…

    Have a fab Christmas with your lovely girls!


    • Dulwich Divorcee December 28, 2009 at 8:57 am

      Hi English, I hope this means you are now all properly connected up to the internet again! How is the new house? Dying to see it all, will pop over to see you xx

  • Bluestocking Mum December 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Ah, what a lovely tree. It’s so true about everything having a memory and significance. When the boys and I put our tree up every year I have to go through the history of each bauble and decoration.

    I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and 2010. It’s been lovely to meet your aquaintance.

    Best wishes to all

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 28, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Hi Debbie, thanks so much for your lovely comment. It’s been great meeting you too this year, and let’s hope 2010 is a good one for us both, all good wishes to you and your boys, Alicexx

  • Hadriana December 23, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Hi DD,

    Love the new when I’ve got a minute I’ll ring the changes..with updating links etc.

    Wishing you and yours a very wonderful Christmas and a super 2010!

    Hadriana xx

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 28, 2009 at 9:00 am

      Hi Hadriana, lovely to hear from you and hope all goes really well for you and yours in 2010, may it be the year in which all your ventures truly take off! A bientot, DDxx

  • mrs worthington December 27, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Loving the outsize internet shopping – been there, done that. And the history behind the christmas decorations – we have a similar routine although I am sure that if I refrained from putting up the Christmas twig made by my daughter when she was 4 she wouldn’t mind.

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 28, 2009 at 9:01 am

      Hi Mrs Worthington, lovely of you to pop by, you know, I bet your daughter would be rather sad if that twig ever did disappear …. Happy New Year, DD

  • marriedwithfour December 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Love the story about the Bananas!

    • Dulwich Divorcee December 28, 2009 at 9:01 am

      Thanks, honey, and lovely to see you, Happy New Year to you, the Pig and the Four! DDxx