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, which looks very healthy now, will survive the Christmas holiday period indoors and do well when planted out.