18 Dec 2013

Christmas trees past and present

I decided that I would like a Christmas tree with roots this year so off we went to our two local nursery garden centres to have a look and choose one.  At the second nursery the trees were priced individually with all the labels and instructions which I thought was a good thing and the above is the one we chose.  It's a Nordman Fir and quite small and bushy so I've not decorated it with all the usual ornaments I had stored away, but a lot of vintage glass baubles instead. I haven't used many of these since our pet cat became part of our family!

Here's Gino in 2011 as a kitten taking a great interest in the ornaments and, like all active kittens, he used to hook the balls off the tree when we weren't looking.  Now he's more interested in going straight to his favourite cushion, curling up and sleeping and unlikely to bother with the tree.

Below are some of the baubles and other decorations on this year's tree. The ones with the painted flowers are very pretty.

I like seeing the Christmas lights and decorations in a town, but there's something special about those that are put up locally. This Christmas tree has been planted on the village green down in the valley near where we live and it looks pretty when the little twinkling lights are on in an evening.

In Italy, at least in my husband's village, there isn't a tradition to decorate the home for Christmas as we do elsewhere.  Each country has it's own traditions and the Nativity Crib is still the central focus. Some families decorate an evergreen tree that's already growing in the garden and here lies a cautionary tale which we will think about when we choose where to plant our own newly acquired little fir tree.


In the early 1990s our Italian front garden was just becoming established after we installed the well and had a better supply of water. For our first Christmas (when we were living there with our son who was on a gap year before going to university) we decided to buy a northern spruce tree to use indoors as a Christmas tree. It then got planted in the new year.  We also planted some olive trees, a front hedge, rose bushes, fruit and nut trees in one corner and a row of cypress trees.

As you can imagine, all the trees have shot up and are in need of constant pruning and trimming. The photo below was taken in 2005 and the little Christmas tree has grown tall and sturdy. That corner of the garden is like a small wood of persimmon, walnut and hazel trees and it's where I can hang a hammock as a place to rest and read in a shady place. 

We have a big plot of land in Italy so there's plenty of room for trees to grow and spread out away from the house, but that's not the case in our English garden so we shall be thinking about where we plant our present fir tree and the magnolia that was a gift from our daughter (which is still in a pot). Hopefully the Christmas tree will survive the Christmas holiday period indoors and do well when planted out.


  1. It all looks lovely Linda. Seeing your baubles brings back memories of childhood for me. My grandmother (who lived with us at the time) had a similar collection that used to be wrapped in crepe or tissue paper before being stored away each year and there was always great excitement when the box was retrieved from the loft and us girls (I'm one of four) were allowed to very gently remove the wrapping before adding to the tree. Happy memories.

    Hope you're tree does well for you.


  2. a wonderful idea for the live tree.the ornaments are really beautiful... as is your garden in Italy... we would have to plant a Christmas palm here, don't think the little guy would grow here.

  3. Yes, trees do have a way of getting BIG!!! Thanks for the Christmas decorating treat, Linda :)

  4. Everything looks so beautiful! I like the idea of buying a live tree very much and will store this away for next year. Thank you so much for stopping by and wishing us a Happy Anniversary. We had a wonderfully quiet day with no muss or fuss, which suited us just fine. But roll on the 40th, we're planning a holiday somewhere warm :)

  5. We have three ex christmas trees growing in our garden. One of which is about 15 years old and is now reaching up towards the sky and heading in the direction of 35 feet in height. I decided that I would not buy another tree with roots, there is a limit to how many christmas trees you want in the garden. However, I have relented and we have another live tree, but very small which I purchased very cheaply from Lidl. It's a healthy little tree and I guess will end up in the garden with the others.
    Your little tree looks pretty - the grandchildren will love it.

  6. Hi Linda, As you know, we here in the good ole USA make a HUGE deal of Christmas… I have done it my entire life --although these days, the commercialism is taking over the real meaning. I love Christmas and decorating --but I also know the 'real' meaning of the season.

    Interesting the Italy doesn't decorate… I would be sad if I were there!!! Love your little tree… When I was a young bride/mother many years ago, we bought a tree with roots… We were so excited to plant it in our yard… WELL----that tree died, so we never did that again…ha

    Merry Christmas.

  7. Your christmas decorations and little tree are beautiful Linda. If you have a place to plant a tree out, it is a nice idea to get one with roots. We don't have space for any more trees, with our great big oaks and apple, so I will watch as you report on the growth of yours instead! xx

  8. Last year I dug up a tree from the garden, hoping to keep it alive in a pot. Unsuccessfully as it turned out. We probably damaged too many of the roots. This year I'm trying again with a bought rooted tree. We shall see..

  9. I do love your tree this year, it's gorgeous, and your baubles are making me a little green eyed....fab they are. I get cats and decorations....hope yours is ok this year. I love a real tree with roots but when I got one last year Sam cocked his leg on it and blew the lights....sooooo it was back to the imitation ones. Dogs eh....xxx

  10. Your trees have grown up wonderfully. It is such a treat to see the variety of beautiful ornaments. My Callie Kat is still a bit too interested in removing them from the tree.

  11. What a lovely little Christmas tree. And the baubles are exquisite. You've done a beautiful job planting trees around your properties. What a sight to see such majestic trees growing up in one's lifetime. Trees take a long time to grow where I live due to the unpredictable extremes. Wishing you well with you new Christmas tree.

  12. Such gorgeous baubles on the tree Linda.
    The tree will make a wonderful speciman in the garden in years to come.
    Your trees in Italy have grown beautifully - I'm sure they give you much pleasure!
    Almost 11pm - time to put my head down!
    Christmas Hugs
    Shane XOX

  13. I love seeing your tree Linda. It is interesting to see how people celebrate in different countries as you always think everyone does it just like you. And it is always nice seeing your homes. I especially love your tree for this year. I'm done with large trees and small and simple is what I like as I grow older. Your sweet little tree is especially perfect and your ornaments darling. Enjoy the holiday season as it is rushing upon us quickly now.

  14. What lovely ornaments, Linda. When I was a child we had a rooted Christmas tree which was dug up each year and brought indoors. The constant disturbance of the roots dwarfed it, so its size never became a problem. i love the glimpses of your Italian garden. Your house is in a very beautiful area.

  15. I love your little tree and its pretty decorations. Like Gino our two cats are no longer interested in destroying the tree and its decorations which used to be found days after Christmas under various pieces of furniture - they watched us put up the tree for a while then went back to their favourite pastime of snoozing:)

  16. Your decorations are beautiful. They remind me of those which adorned our tree as I was growing up, the very same ones which my mum donated to the charity shop a couple of years ago when moving house as she didn't think I'd want them! We used to have a cat who would pull the tree over every night whilst we were in bed, we had to dress it every day during the festive period. Thank goodness he grew out of that.

  17. Love the little tree in the pot to plant and the curiosity of the cat.
    Beautiful ornaments too.

  18. I'm wishing we weren't gone every year at Christmas so we could have a real tree again without fear of fire. I hadn't thought of buying a tree with roots that wouldn't die. Of course, I'll have to think where to plant it after. Not sure we have any place; think I'll have to look for something that doesn't grow very large!