The tree has to be fir or spruce, we’ve had pine, but it doesn’t smell as good. It’s easy to get seduced by the bigger or fuller ones, but in order to have room between the branches for all our ornaments, we always look for more sparsely branched trees- preferable field grown. They’re hard to find these days.
My mother’s tree always had round balls on it. She liked that simple elegance. Of course, it also had a plastic Electric Santa on top as well. I don’t know anyone else who had one of those, although it must have been mass produced. When I was a kid I longed for a star or an angel! Both of those have happened with my trees. There was a star we used for years made from burned matches. And now we have an angel that Willow made- she made the wings with feathers from our chickens.
I also always loved the interestingly shaped glass ornaments I saw on the Ibarguan’s tree- with reflective convex surfaces. As soon as I could buy my own ornaments, I started collecting the more elaborate ones. Each year we’d add a few more to our tree. When the house burned, we lost over eighty ornaments. I ran through them one at a time in my head, because each was unique. Nothing to do but start over- and we did. Now we have so many ornaments we try to just get one that means something about the year that has passed (from among the available options- not always easy). We got the pirate ship for the Renn Faires we worked. The year we saw the Tut Exhibit we found a Tut mask, but after we saw the Staffordshire Hoard we found nothing, so Willow made a reproduction of one of the gold ornaments from Shrinky-dink plastic. It’s shiny so it stays on the Shiny tree.
We also have another tree with just hand made ornaments, and one in the kitchen with just edible decorations- cookies, popcorn, candy. The shiny tree has tinsel (in several colors), garlands of glass beads, and it also has flashing multicolored lights, and bubble lights. Not ALL the ornaments are blown glass- some are ceramic- like the fairies that we got one for each of the girls- Diana took hers away so we no longer have the blue fairy, but we do have the pink and lavender ones for Willow and Kat.
In the fire we had a lot of ornaments with gnomes, and wizards- the ceramic dragon survived, although he lost his crystal ball. We have some home-made ornaments- if they’re glass, or shiny, but most are commercially produced. Most are “for” something- the Elephant for Dan when he was in the circus, the roulette wheel because he now vacations in Vegas; the Fox for Willow, cats for Kat, John’s include the bat, dolphin,and Seal. Knights, and Rabbit, and Garlic for Ælfwine, Bees, peacocks, and harps for me, the sheep is for Honour, the owl is for Alva, the woodpecker for Dad (because of the one that drove him crazy), the kangaroo for Trish the year she went to Australia. Some I just got because I’d never seen anything like them, like an ice cream cone, fish or zepplin. The first one in the gallery is supposed to be Little Jack Horner, but with the red smeared face, the family calls him Hannible Lector. And, of course, there’s a pickle. There’s a tradition of a prize for the first to find it. Obviously since Willow has an advantage, now she hides it.