We had our first bout with cold weather here in Syracuse, NY, enough to constitute school delays for some – minor flurries and icy conditions. We usually win the trophy for the most inches of snowfall in New York State, but I will be more than happy to concede to Buffalo this year because the alternative of catching up to them is something I don’t even want to fathom. Nothing here really even stuck and I’m hearing a weather forecast that I’m liking for Monday – sixties! So it was like a Braxton-Hicks.
This false holiday weather tricked me into a desire to decorate my home for the holidays.
Yes, you heard. I put my Christmas tree up. In my defense, I will probably trim the tree at my parents’ house again this year and it’s kind of like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you can calm down and breathe your way through the chaos of it all. Or in this case – me. So I can breathe.
My house always looks messier at first until I decide where to put everything. I rearranged furniture then put it back and so it pretty much ended up looking like it did last year with minor adjustments. This took all day for some reason, a lot longer than I remember taking in previous years, but maybe that’s because it is like a pregnancy. Labor intensive then you (not me – I’m just guessing the analogy fits) tend to forget all the annoying parts and all that’s left is an aesthetically beautiful thing.
I love the way the house looks with this extra bit of decor. I am partial to reds and greens in here anyhow so it all looks as harmonious as a Christmas song (I played the Sarah McLachlan Wintersong CD about a dozen times during the process – I <3 her voice). The trick now will be to try to prevent the kit-cats from climbing it.
The above picture was taken in 2011, their first year with me. They were launching themselves off my great-grandmother’s chair and hurling into the tree despite my protests.
For about fifteen years or so (give or take), I’ve donated a Christmas tree to the Everson Museum of Art for their annual Festival of Trees event. It’s a fundraiser for the museum. They used to give the donors free tickets to the patron party and so that was the best part. Create an artistic tree that pretty much cost well over $200 to put together and enjoy the glamour of sipping champagne and eating little roast beef sandwiches and slices of sage-infused cheddar while traipsing through the galleries until you found your creation then hovering around it waiting to eavesdrop on someone saying something complimentary, allowing you the permission to think they like me, they really like me!
Of course, the point of the thing is that someone buys your tree. Many corporations simply do it for the publicity – here’s a tree from blah, blah and now they will buy it back insuring the Everson actually makes money instead of the hoping way that I used. I’m not sure how many of my trees were actually purchased and enjoyed, and how many ended up in the museum’s archives collecting dust (or thrown away?).
They don’t give artists the golden ticket anymore. They offer one for 1/2 off the hundred dollar fee, which is still too expensive for me. This year the Everson Museum Festival of Trees runs from December 5th- December 14th, 2014.
I’ve done many trees with my students throughout my teaching career as well, the most recent was last year when we created a card tree based on George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog paintings. A few of my students and I had interacted with his wife Wendy on his Facebook like page after I had posted student artwork on his website based on his beloved blue dogs. He died last year, coincidentally, on the final day of the festival. I still don’t know if that tree sold or not and to whom. I hope it found a good home.