The First Day After – Tree Toppers


The first day after Christmas
My true love and I had a fight.
And so I chopped the pear tree down
And burned it just for spite.

Then with a single cartridge
I shot that blasted partridge
My true love
My true love
My true love gave to me.

– The Twelve Days After Christmas, by Frederick Silver

It’s December 26th – the first day after Christmas – and I’ll be sharing a few things I didn’t get to during advent. Tonight, at the behest of my friend Nuchtchas of Nutty Bites, the subject is tree toppers.

I have two Christmas trees this year, and I still have a good portion of my ornaments in a box. My mother started my ornament collection before I was born, and we’ve added to it every year. Some of the ornaments represent places I visited or experiences I had during childhood, and some represent my interests and those of my husband, and some are just pretty or cool. Mom once told me that one of the saddest days she experienced – before the loss of her husband, anyway – was when she packed up my ornaments separately from hers for the first time, so I could have a tree of my own, after I married Fuzzy.

Two trees means two tree toppers. The main tree, which is seven-and-a-half feet tall and is in the dining room, has a traditional angel on top. For the longest time, when Fuzzy and I both worked nights doing tech support for Gateway, we had a gold moon as the topper, but as our marriage matured our trees grew in stature (well, we kept upgrading to larger ones) and the moon was soon relegated to normal ornament status. I bought the angel a few years ago because she seemed serene, and she reminded me of a Renaissance painting I’d seen once.

The auxiliary tree is in the part of my house that is technically the living room, but is really part of the space between the dining room doors, the front door, and the stairs, as the living room really begins beyond the door into the kitchen, and this all sounds more complicated than it is. Anyway, the living room tree is about three feet tall but it’s in a pot, on a table, so it feels taller. We put all the aquatic-themed ornaments on that. Mermaids, fish, shells, and also ducks, dragonflies, a crocodile, and an alligator in pink pumps with Christmas trees on her back.

The topper for that tree is a silver metallic butterfly, and it was the topper of the first tree Mom and I had together, so it’s as old as I am, and it looks surprisingly good for a forty-eight-year-old creation made of paper and pipe cleaners. Mom started downsizing her own ornament collection a few years ago, and sent that to me.

I have to admit, I resisted using it, because it felt like doing so meant she was dead, when in fact she’s very much alive, and sleeping in my guest room as I write this. I do use it though, because I love it, and because it catches the light really well, which our angel does not.