O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how lovely is your…hodgepodge.
Some folks have beautifully decorated themed Christmas trees. This tree is all decked in white and is covered in angels. Or that tree sports multi-colored lights with all Santa ornaments on it. Or whatever floats your boat – it could be even a nautical or beach themed tree.
But not here at Mama’s Empty Nest. Nope, our tree doesn’t have a theme unless you consider it an eclectic one, a mishmash that doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason.
Our tree is adorned with ornaments from years ago, from places we’ve visited over our 40-some years of marriage, from gifts we’ve been given, to ornaments just because I liked the look of them.
It’s a miscellaneous assortment of this and that. But I like it because, for the most part, each ornament hanging on our evergreen holds a memory.
Preparing for our family Christmas this year when the nest will be full, I took a moment to stop my frantic pace of decorating and completing my mile-long list of things to do before Christmas to sit and admire our hodgepodge tree. While doing so, I caught a glimpse of an ornament that reminded me of one Christmas season many years ago.
Back in the day when this empty nest mama was a busy mama of school-aged children, I devoted a lot of time volunteering at their public schools. I was room mother (we planned the class parties) for all three of my kids.
I volunteered in their classrooms every week helping students with reading or catching up on their work. I slaved away at numerous school fundraisers. And I served a few years as PTA (Parent Teacher Association) President and Vice-President.
After my last stint as PTA President, I decided to take a break from all of that activity. Since we worked so closely together, the other PTA mom officers became some very good friends. They didn’t believe me when I said I was hanging up my PTA hat and asked me what I would do with my time instead. I promptly answered, “I’ll have tea parties!”
And so I did. That Christmas, I held a tea party for those same friends in my home. The menu included tiny quiches, petite tea sandwiches, an assortment of small cookies, and oranges cut in half, scooped out, and filled with a berry fruit salad.
I brewed holiday flavors of hot tea – candy cane lane and sugar plum spice – and served them in Christmas tea pots.
Prior to the party, I decorated our dining room table with a red tablecloth, a plaid red and green table runner down the center, and a beautiful live greenery centerpiece with candles.
At each place setting, I used my Christmas china plates and tea cups along with red and green plaid cloth napkins, bedecked with lacy napkin rings I had fashioned with tiny pine cones and ribbon.
I bought tiny clay pots, spray painted the outside of them gold, tied plaid ribbons around them, filled them with red and green M&M candies, and placed a chocolate molded candy Christmas tree on a lollipop stick in each of them so they looked like Victorian topiaries. Those were the favors and they added a nice touch to the décor.
I was pleased with the results of my plans and I wish I had thought to take a photo of my Christmas tea party, but alas, no such picture exists. And there was no such thing as Pinterest back then to give me ideas.
All of this came back to my mind from that memory bank in my brain when I noticed the adorable little ornament resembling a tea bag with two little mice enjoying a cup of tea. One of my friends, a guest at my Christmas tea party that day so long ago, gifted me that little treasure.
When I gaze at it, I remember that lovely time with wonderful friends. It truly makes a delightful Christmas memory. Who would have thought my tree would remind me of a long ago tea party?
That’s why I like my hodgepodge Christmas tree.
“Recipe for a tea party: one cup of love, two pots of tea, and a handful of friends to make the moments sweet.” ~ unknown