Monday, December 5, 2011

Vatican Angel Debuts In My World

THE ORNAMENT I purchased in a gift shop during our 2010 visit to the Vatican in Rome is making its debut on our Christmas tree in BC this year. The season rolled around so quickly that I missed putting up a tree last year ... unusual in my world as I have always kept up the tradition.

Unwrapping old decorations to put on artificial boughs, I realized many ornaments have special meaning (including one of Penelope pictured below). From the thrill of discovering the best tree amid rows of scented evergreens when my daughter was small to the era of guilt over "killing" a live tree, my feelings about the ritual and what it represents have taken twists and turns.

Stresses and demands can squash the joy right out of the festive season that does have its somber side, depending on personal circumstances. As journalist Jimmy Cannon said in the mid 1900s, "Christmas is a holiday that persecutes the lonely, the frayed, and the rejected."

Unrealistic expectations and falling short of a picture perfect life can mar the ideal described by author Washington Irving in the early 19th century when he said, "Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."

I suppose Christmas in its many manifestations is whatever one thinks it to be. As it continues to evolve, Canadian society oddly seems to have made the true religious icons of the holiday quietly disappear so as not to infringe on other faiths in our diverse culture.

Prior to its association with Christianity, the evergreen symbolized renewal of life. So whether or not one believes in the biblical supernatural birth of a child and the resurrection there is still room for wonder when decorating a tree, if only to celebrate the miracle of new beginnings that we see all around us in the natural world.

And as reminded by this picture of a Santa-decorated tree, created by my daughter one year for a contest, where do the presents go if there is no tree?

To view more sights from around the globe visit Our World.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. I enjoyed this post and your lovely decorations. I too have ups and downs about my Christmas tree and whether to put one up as each year rolls around. But I've mostly concluded that a tree gaily decorated with twinkling lights,helps me focus on the purpose of the season. Not only is the tree the place to put the prezzies but it is a beautiful thing to look at and helps to bring joy.

  2. Penelope this is an interesting and thought provoking post. It is true in our house too that there are so many memories evoked when we take out our decorations and hang the ornaments on the tree. The Christmas tree is still a real one at our house, my husband insists. Christmas can be a very lonely and stressful time of year for some though.

  3. I enjoyed this post. Very interesting narrative and you have a lovely collection of ornaments.

  4. Love your beautiful decorations and such a very thoughtful and meaningful post, Penelope! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Hope you have a great week!


  5. Fun post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  6. Interesting post and nice photos - those are nice decorations.

  7. Penelope, your collection of Christmas ornaments are all so lovely with the sweet memories. I like the ornament pictured with Penelope, and the last year’s snow globe, too. I like unwrapping the present just chosen for me.

    Regardless of religion and culture, Christmas is a nice tradition with the spirit of giving and sharing, love and forgiveness. I’m so fortunate that I have a nice Christmas memory as a child at my maiden home where a large Christmas tree used to be standing proudly in our living room. For most of Japanese, Christmas is secular. In my impression, Christmas is especially for families with young children. In the world of fantasy, my son believed the existence of Santa Clause till 10-year-old. I guess, some of the Japanese housewives are the busiest at this season as they prepare for the Christmas and then tackle the New Year, two completely different traditions.

    My Canadian friend, a long term resident in Nara, recalls Christmas had been agony for him for the first several years in Japan with lots of commercialism, no Christmas holiday, loneliness in the crowd, etc..

  8. Very interesting. Those ornaments look good and your tree will be a beautiful one.

  9. These are dreamy, wonderful photos!

  10. Wonderful Santa tree - love it!

    And what great ornaments - I love the guitar!

  11. Wow, you have quite a collection of ornaments. They are so precious, and carefully wrapped to preserve their memories.

    I have enjoyed reading your post.

  12. Your tree is GREAT! Thank you for sharing photos of some of your favourite decorations.


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