When we moved to Marin, our aluminum tree served as the central decor in our family room. The tree chosen for the living room for a few years was a traditional pine. If Dad wasn't traveling in December, we would make a family trip to a Christmas tree farm where we would select the perfect tree, then cut it down ourselves. While we waited for Dad and some helpers to tie the tree to the roof of our car, Mom would produce a box of chocolate covered cherries. We would each savor 1 or 2 before the long ride home.
The first Christmas we spent in Marin, there was not a stick of furniture in our living room. The furnishings we had brought from our south bay home were moved into the family room, and Mom and Dad were taking their time acquiring beautiful, original pieces for their new living room. So, to fill an obvious void, our evergreen was placed in the very center of the room. In the years that followed, the living room took shape with sofa, tables, chairs, and lamps, so the tree was placed in the corner of the room, right in front of two of the bay windows, and that location became its traditional spot.
One of Mom's famous "crafts of the year" during the early 1970s was jeweled ornaments. She would buy kits of many colors complete with Styrofoam ball, sequins, resin and filigree beads, pearls, ribbon, and very, very, very long straight pins. The idea was to gather sequins and bead onto the pin in a predetermined order, somewhat like a shish-kabob, then skewer the little ball with dozens of these spears. The last step was to wrap ribbon around the ball and finish it off with a loop for hanging. If successfully done, one could no longer see white foam.
Mom made dozens of these ornaments, and she once again recruited her three daughters to create an ornament or five each. Once the collection was completed, it was clear to our eye-for-style mom that an evergreen would not do these little gem-studded baubles justice. So, beginning that year, we moved the pine to the family room, and the aluminum tree was retired to Christmas tree heaven. With a pine in the family room, the holiday theme evolved with Mom's decor and eventually was covered with old-fashioned St. Nicks, Christmas plaid bows, and little baskets filled with baby's breath. A beautiful, nostalgic sight.
In the meantime, a white flocked tree found its way into our home and, bedecked with the handmade jeweled ornaments, became the tradition in our living room. The hues in this room were copper and bronze, and this snow-covered tree was a stunning sight to behold. It was once again perfect for the room it embellished. It was formal and unique, and, in addition to the hundreds of very, very, very long straight pins, signified as much love as there was time spent creating it.
Some years, a third tree was placed in Mom and Dad's bedroom. This smaller tree was dressed in Victorian-style refinement, and was positioned perfectly to be seen by anyone traveling down our long hallway. There was one spot in our home where all three trees could be seen at the same time. Three trees, three different themes. Each in its own way reflected the Colors of Christmas.
To be continued . . .