I had to smile when I came across this tinselly monstrosity in a funny email forwarded to me by some local friends. The email was entitled “Our Life in Pictures” and featured a whole lot of images of things that only people of a certain age would remember. Let’s just say that I include myself in that number, and found the images, and the memories they brought back, highly amusing. I’ll share more of them with you in a post-Christmas post, for your holiday enjoyment.
Tonight, though, let’s talk about tinsel-covered Christmas trees. Does anyone use tinsel any more, or has it permanently been declared a total fire hazard and/or assault on the senses? Ah, but back in the day, everyone – including us Sedgwicks here at the Manse in Queensborough – adorned their tree with tinsel, which (come to think of it) was probably wildly inexpensive as a decorating option.
As I recall, in the dwindling days of tinsel use, people applied it sparing, and when you did that it didn’t look all that bad. The thin silvery wisps would catch and reflect the glow from the lights on the tree, and that was kind of pretty. But in earlier days, I vaguely recall my brothers and sister and me throwing the stuff onto the tree in handful-sized clumps (which we thought was great fun), and the result was as you might expect.
Now, obviously the people who decorated the tree featured in the photo atop this post didn’t do that; you can tell they were of the one-strand-at-a-time school of tree-trimming with tinsel. But gracious, they certainly have applied a lot, one stand at a time. And I have to say that that tree looks downright scary.
Anyway, those are my reflections on tinsel, for this Christmas at least. But before closing, I’d like to remind you of another dubious tree-decorating choice from back in the day. Do you remember Angel Hair, people?
“FIREPROOF,” the box proclaims. Yeah, right. Didn’t that stuff get banned when it caused one too many disastrous holiday-season blazes? At any rate, I remember that for many Christmases of my childhood, Angel Hair adorned every tree in sight – and then suddenly it was gone. Utterly gone.
But fire hazard though it may have been, it was kind of pretty, don’t you think? People would wrap some of it around each of the lights on the tree – trees tended to have far fewer lights than they do now – and it would turn the coloured light all soft and fuzzy. It gave you kind of a warm Christmas feeling to see it.
Which was all good, until that warm feeling was transformed into a raging Yuletide house fire…