O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree! How lovely are your branches! La la la laa, la la la laa! (Also known as, I don’t know the rest of the words from there on out.)
This year is the first time since 2010 that Dan and I have had our own tree for decorating, and in our excitement, we kind of went all out: it’s an 8-foot balsam evergreen that he schlepped on his shoulder for ten blocks, up a flight of stairs (because why take the elevator?), and into our living room, where it sat only momentarily before yanking the netting off which led to Dan accidentally stabbing himself in the hand with a pair of scissors (it was bloody), thereby earning him the distinction of being the first Christmas Victim, an honor which allows said Victim to wear the fancy Santa hat and choose which Christmas movie we watch while festooning the tree. Dan chose The Original Television Christmas Classics, a very good choice indeed.
In addition to wearing fancy Santa hats and multiple Band-Aids whilst trimming your tree, I recommend donning cozy sweaters, like the ones from Peter Hahn. (Side note: one of the things on my Christmas list this year is a white cable-knit sweater, which Dan has taken to calling “cable thread?” which, hopefully, can be interpreted by some thoughtful and intuitive sales associate. I’ll be sure to report back on the success of this experiment.)
Anyway, this tree is particularly special because during our year in Europe, we made it a point to purchase a Christmas ornament from every city we could. Even though it’s the kind of souvenir we only get to see for a few weeks every year, we loved the hunt in every city (hunts which were, sadly, fruitless during the summer months and thus we have no ornaments from Germany, where we spent so much of our time) and seeing the results on the tree is so much fun.
Cheesy as it sounds, every ornament really does bring me back to the moment we bought it: I can remember the crisp air and the twinkling lights atop Montmarte, where we found our sparkly Eiffel Tower ornament, and the heat of the mulled wine warming my throat as we walked the Christmas market in Budapest, where we found the handmade wreath that spells out Boldog Karacsonyt (“Merry Christmas”). We’ve tried to continue the tradition where we can, so we also have a hand-painted ball from our honeymoon in Mexico, and a pretty glass ornament from our road trip through West Virginia this summer.
Here are a few more of the Coyle family Christmas tree (hereby christened “Martha”) international ornaments: