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I’m a Victorian girl. My favorite colors are cream, rose, white, and gold, and my Christmas choices have pretty much always reflected that. For the first 10 or so years of our marriage, our tree was decked with crystal and cream old-fashioned ornaments, pink ribbon edged in gold, and a myriad of white lights. Rob and I actually tended to buy a new ornament every time we travelled, and many were purchased in an old antique store in beautiful Quechee, Vermont. Amazingly enough, my children somehow sensed the importance of the grand tree, and never even had to be told not to touch it. While they were little, it was my own thing and I reveled in every minute of decorating and enjoying it. It was beautiful and made me happy.
We did make a “kids tree” when we had the room, decorated with multi-colored lights, fun ornaments and the things the kids made themselves. They usually put that one together themselves, though the appeal for the older ones of doing that had sortof dimmed over the years and they had to be pushed to do it! Red decorations? Not in my house. I’d never been a fan of red. Red was too common; it’s too bold and loud, didn’t look good on me, and didn’t match any of my other decor! Wasn’t going to happen.
I tried a few other things over the years. After thinking about it for quite awhile, one year I made our tree mostly blue and silver. (The decorations were blue and silver, not the *tree* itself!) It was gorgeous. My favorite, though, was probably the tree I’ve done the past couple of years. I ran across a recipe for fake snow, made from soap flakes and hot water whipped with a beater, which you actually drape and fling onto the tree and then cover with glitter, and actually looks pretty convincing! That tree was then covered with crystal and white “snowflakes” and other ornaments *only* and it looked like a Winter Wonderland in here. Since we live in Florida, that was exactly what I was going for.
Well, last year after the perfect white tree, for some reason I had a total change of mind about this year’s decorations. I announced that this year the tree was going to be . . . red. Well, not red exactly, but the closest I though I’d ever get to it–that burgundy, wine, cranberry-ish red that’s a bit more Victorian looking. I bought a few boxes of wine-colored ornaments and a huge roll of burgundy ribbon with gold scrolling while they were on sale after Christmas, and tucked them away for this year’s tree. And then, as I do every year, I forgot about them until I opened the box the day after Thanksgiving!
We bought a beautiful tree from the tree lot, and I decided the homemade snow wouldn’t “go” this year with all the red I was planning. After wrapping the 9 foot tree in 1500 lights (and deciding that my husband was right, there actually could be too many lights on a tree and I might have just done it!) I started in on the burgundy ribbon, added in the red/gold ornaments and my red silk roses, and filled in with the child-crafted ones we’ve collected over the years.
Beautiful! My husband says it’s the best tree ever. I have loved sitting in my living room every morning and evening just looking at it. I kept thinking about how almost everyone decorates their tree in a form of red, and all of a sudden it struck me . . . there must be a reason trees have commonly been decorated in red, right? So I looked it up. Yup, there it was . . . green became a Christmas color because it symbolized new life. And red because it denoted the blood of Christ.
All over the world, whether people recognize it or not, they are decorating for the birth of Christ with reminders of His death. He came to spill His blood on a tree for all of us. It is the great gift of Christmas; the reason for our faith, hope, and love. I looked at Christmas decorations differently this year, seeing Christ’s sacrifice everywhere, even where it wasn’t consciously acknowledged. The red on trees now says to me, “Love! Love! Love!” And I am amazed.