Sunday, 8 January 2012

Twelfth night

Well it's gone. After nearly 3 weeks being gazed upon and the focus of our attentions over the festive the season the Christmas Tree has been taken down.

Twelfth night has always been significant for me. I'm not sure why, but on the evening before the tree, and decorations, come down, I often sit quietly with just the tree lights lit thinking about the last few days, Christmas, the New Year ahead and generally just absorbing the peace and quiet of this time in January, a respite from the hustle and bustle leading into Christmas itself.

According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Twelfth Night is described as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking".

However there is often confusion these days, whether it is the 5th or the 6th. I've always said the 6th, but maybe I'm a day overdue.

Like many people I love putting the decorations on the tree. Most are now getting on in years and have sentimental value, either remembering when first bought, or recalling past Christmases. This one above was a house warming bauble from my parents in 2009, after moving into my current house on December 21st. I didn't have a tree that year, last year I had pneumonia over Christmas so this year is the first year it has been used and enjoyed.

This chap was bought in Germany in 2000. He's one of 6 soldiers. I was on an overland holiday to Italy and stopped off near the Rhine. In the now long forgotten town there was a permanent Christmas shop, so he, along with a rotating decoration powered by candles, was bought. Sadly the first time I lit the candles on the latter it busts into flames and was no more. Most entertaining.

I love gnomes, don't know why. Not gawdy plastic gnomes, but proper woodland gnomes which are quite special to me. Back in 1995 or 1996 I saw a box of 6 gnome decorations, 2 on snails, 2 on mushrooms, 2 on Christmas baubles. I've never seen anything like this before or since and they've treasured. The only down side is they're made of pottery so weigh a lot, hence they're attached to branches in the middle of the tree.

Every year I like to buy one new decoration to add to the collection, however this year I've added 2. On the drive up to visit my parents just before Christmas, we stopped at the National Trust's Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, for a break in the journey. I have begun to stop there as it is about half way between home and parents, just off the A1, and the food is infinitely better than on a motorway service station. This year after an enjoyable soup and a roll, we noticed the shop had a sale on, which was handy as we'd still quite a bit of Christmas shopping to do, stocking fillers and the like. So spying this white owl at half price, he had to be added to the tree decorations this year.

But then when standing in the queue I spied this bicycling Santa. I love quirky things, and so, as he was also half price, in the basket he went.

So there we go. In another 330 days I'll be getting the decorations out of the loft again, but for this year I'm going to enjoy them one last time in this posting.


  1. This is the type of tree I like. One with meaning attached to it.

  2. I love the Christmas Tree decorations Andrew and I wish I could find a box of gnomes like yours! Our tree decorations are a mixture like yours of items we've collected over the years plus a few we've inherited and made! They make the tree that extra bit special and bring back, as you say, a hoard of memories!

    I've never been sure whether to take down the decorations on the 5th or the 6th but we've always gone for the 6th too!

  3. Lisa and Ragged Robin can't agree more, it's the memory and and collection of thoughts which makes Christmas so enjoyable, ohh and that scent of pine