Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Traditions: The Tree Elf

We have a tradition of non-traditional tree-toppers in my family. When I was a kid, we always put a straw scarecrow on top of our tree. I have no idea where it came from or what the significance was--I've never seen or heard of a scarecrow in other holiday customs or traditions (have you?), but looking back I think, "how cool!" As kids of course, my sister and I begged for a big, shiny, sparkly star and my mother, bless her heart, let us buy and install this horribly tacky silver and red with flashing lights star one year. Thank god that thing only lasted a few seasons.

C and I have always put this little elf on top of our tree. His mother used to work at Annalee Dolls, stitching little elf bodies, and had given C this elf some time ago. C has an affinity for mythical woodland creatures (perhaps because, as our friend Andrea--no relation--conjectures, he was raised by the elves and gnomes in the woods), so he makes a perfect, friendly and pagan topper to our tree.

Our kids, like me when I was a child, of course beg for a big, bright, shiny star to top our tree, but so far I've held firm (E was on the verge of making one the day we brought our tree in, but we were so busy with visitors and getting ready to go to the town tree lighting and caroling event, that no one had time to help him--he has apparently forgotten this mission). I wouldn't mind one of those glass antique tree toppers that slides down over the tippy-top branch of the tree, but I haven't found one in my travels yet.

To carry the elfin theme down to the base of the tree, this year I made a tree skirt using Christmas Flower Fairy fabric. We've never had a skirt before--I've always just tucked a piece of Christmassey fabric around the tree stand, and that was fine, but now that I have one, I like the way it kind of defines the tree's footprint or personal space.

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