When we bring the boxes down from the attic to decorate my parents tree, I always look out for the crumpled red and silver foil bell that I made aged three. It’s always there. Crumpled but Christmasy. One of life’s constants from a time before I could read. It is as much a tradition of Christmas as a Turkey or an argument over when the potatoes are ready.
I remember aged six hanging strange wooden scarecrow like decorations that we bought in the Netherlands on our tree. They seemed peculiar but had pretty skirts of primary colours. Each year my brothers and I chose a colour to hang.
There were bulbous red and purple ornaments with mirror embroidery that made our tree look exotic. The bittersweet love for the delicate Victorian era glass decorations that we inherited the year my Scottish granny died in my teens.
On my own tree are some beautiful tassled Designers Guild baubles that my Mum bought for me when I first moved to London, got my first job, first flat and first tree. Recently I hung a ceramic bell with shaped scribbles that my first-born proudly presented me. It’s a decoration only a mother would hang.
We have introduced our own family tradition that every year, when we buy our tree, each child gets to choose a new bauble. I hope that this will build our own family history and evoke memories for my children as the years go by. The bauble I bought with my first pocket money, the time the hoover exploded as a result of overexposure to pine needles, the year I noticed boys.
Here are some of my favourite baubles with which you can start making your family history. You will probably notice that I do have a penchant for baubles depicting slightly anxious looking animals.
House of Hackney, HACKNEY EMPIRE Panda Decoration – Blue / Green £15
Felt So Good Deer With Scarf Decoration £5 www.johnlewis.com
FLORAL OWL & FROG SET CHRISTMAS DECORATION £24 www.designersguild.com Snowy Critter Ornament £16 www.anthropologie.eu Party Dog Christmas Decoration £14 www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk Glass Peacock Disc Decoration £5.95 www.grahamandgreen.co.uk Glass multi robot decorations – box of 3 £12 www.paperchase.co.uk Gisela Graham Vintage Fairy In Ring Snowflake Design Hanging Decoration £10.50 www.tesco.com Elephant glass hanging decoration £15 www.heals.co.uk Goodwill Pink and Red Swirl Stripe Glass Bauble £9 www.heals.co.uk