Monday, December 21, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Dennenboom

Merry Christmas week! And yes, perhaps you've heard that we, too, have had our first snowstorm of the season, with frigid temps I haven't experienced since I don't know when. Astrid says the cold and the snow are early even for Holland. We'd expect this in January.

But I digress because this is a post about buying our first Christmas tree together at the nearby outdoor market on Saturday, December 12. These are live trees in the photo and not huge...but remember that our apartment is small. It was easy to pick out a good one...not as easy to take it home when Astrid realized how heavy it was. So she went back to the apartment, 2 blocks away, to get the hand cart, which made all the difference in the world. Easy for me to say, while she does the hard work and I take the pictures!

We weren't ready to decorate the tree because my TruckPacks hadn't arrived yet (in which my Christmas box is!). However, early in the next week, last Wednesday, we found out said TPs are not yet ready to be released until a couple other hoops are jumped through. SO we went to Plan B, which was for Astrid to retrieve some of the lights and bulbs she had left with her ex-husband. By Friday night we were ready to decorate the tree!

What is it about Christmas trees! I always say they're so so quiet, which is true. They calm my heart and soul. They bring peace to my world, whether I need it or not!

A funny thing about this tree....did you notice the icicles (click to enlarge)? When was the last time I had them on one of my trees, if ever! So you can imagine my shock when Astrid pulled them out of her box and said we had to be careful with them, since you can't buy them here anymore. Actually, I think I started to protest and then stopped. Who gives a hoot if there are icicles on the tree! Apart from the lights, the tiny red and silver bulbs and only 12 larger silvery-white bulbs, the icicles were all that was left to sparkle up the tree. And it worked. Even I was able to admit it!

Behind those drapes, BTW, is the courtyard of our senior-living complex here. The day (Wednesday the 16th) we found out my TruckPacks probably won't get released till just after the new year, we had our first snow. Look at this image below and add another 6 or more inches that fell this past weekend.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Astrid says this is their first white Christmas (witte Kerst) in 30 years! O Christmas Tree, O Dennenboom!


  1. When I see these wonderful pictures, I have een brede glimlach, for me is buying a Kerstboom something very special.
    Seen that shocked look on your face when I got out the icicles......but than for me a tree without the icicles is NO tree, it goes back 55 years....erm...yep, my mom and dad had that in the tree too.
    To me, YOU did a great job decorating the Dennenboom, I just watched, the first time in many years I did not decorate myself.
    Thank you for bringing the Christmas spirit in our home.
    Only a few days before our first Christmas together, many more to come I hope.

  2. I love your tree. I wish I can have something that small. Maybe next year I'll get a smaller one for the table.

    Enjoy your first (?) Christmas Ginnie. Have a great time with Astrid.

  3. Aww, what a sweet, sweet tree! It looks so beautiful, and yes, quiet. Sometimes I just like to sit and listen to the ornaments rustling and making their tiny noises, you know? It's very meditative.

    And I love the pictures of your neighbourhood and the outside of the apartment complex. Looks like a lovely are with everything you need nearby.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful pictures Ginnie!! (as always)
    I continued to enjoy your spirit and energy for the smallest things in life that brings you and your relationship such joy, love, and shared experiences.
    I know its' with much anticipation and energy for you both as you share your 1st Christmas together under one roof, God Bless you both.
    A hug to both you and Astrid.

  5. What a lovely tree! I'm looking forward to putting up ours with Ma and OX in the coming days. I agree with Cristina: It does have something meditative :)

    I'm happy that you are having such a wonderful time and enjoying Christmas in your new home

  6. Astrid: This has been such a calm, cool, and collected Christmas for me, even in the midst of all our busyness. Thank you for your part in bringing so much cheer and togetherness. This was a good time of the year for me to come! A Gift!

    PC: I've been surprised at how the small tree seems like one of my normal big trees, Maria. Setting it up off the floor like that has done the trick. Next year we'll have the skirt to go around the bottom. :) Next year we'll even have a few ornaments!

    Christina: You and I both need the calm, for sure. We Gemini! I love our apartment complex here. They were painting the trim out front that day, and thus the scaffolding.

    Bob: Under one roof--the magic words, Bob! It's definitely a magical Christmas for me this year. I'm still pinching myself! And are you pinching yourself, too?

    CS: Thank you, dear, Sandra, for sharing our joy. Ma will love sharing your Christmas tree this year, in the absence of Pa. Please greet OX for me and relish your time off together.

  7. I just love your tree. It is so the perfect size! I for a second actually want one now... WE don't have any decorations so we won't be putting anything up... Maybe in future years or when we get a bigger place.

  8. EYT: Even with our very small apartment, this tree fits in perfectly. It has really added to the festive atmosphere of the season.

  9. We prefere also to have living trees as X-Mas trees.
    One thing is the tradiion, another thing is the smell....

    I will send thr url from the song to my dutch friends.

    When young I learned the German version:
    Oh Tannenbaum etc...

    I like it, and create a good X-Mas feeling.

  10. You are blessed beyond measure to have such peace and satisfaction this Christmas in the middle of such a huge life change and move.

    Icicles! I might have gone through the same shock, and then acceptance, and then HOORAH! It is such a memory, and I think it's wonderful to reconnect with that. Christmas is about memories. Sometimes new ones being created in this moment.

    I love that you have a live tree. Our live tree in Istanbul still grows, if we look at Google Earth correctly! The door man planted "Lesley" in the yard after our second Christmas.

  11. Oh! I'm sure you had a lovely Christmas with all that spirit that you shine through! The tree is beautiful and I love how you got the lights to twinkle so perfectly in your photo.
    Wishing you a warm and loving New Years!

  12. Tor: Even though our tree is real, we haven't smelled it at all. Hmmm. What a disappointment. As you know by now, we now also have an artificial tree...for next year. So glad you enjoyed the Dennenboom song. Astrid says the guy singing is one of their famous Dutch guys!

    Ruth: You know by now that even in one short span of time we have gone from a real tree to an artificial one, all in the same Christmas season. Next year it'll be easier for us to set it up in our apartment, so it'll be better than nothing. I love the memories we're making in our new home and lives. Thanks for sharing our joy!

    Mad: As always, thank you for the way you share the excitement of my life! That means a lot.

  13. Ahhh... ye olde familee finally gone and it's time for my celebration - prowling the blogs and seeing what wonders graced all these other lives. It was wonderful to have mom and her sister together, but it certainly rattled the routines around here - not least for Dixie Rose, who lost her bed and her chairs for a bit.
    That's ok - Santa was good to her, so it all was worthwhile.

    Are icicles no longer in? I have them every year - but it's a fact that they get saved from year to year, too. I was taught not to toss them onto the tree, but to put them on one strand at a time so they could be more easily removed.

    Actually, I remember on my grandmother's tree the REAL icicles, made of red, blue and green metal - before the silly, cheap ones showed up. They glittered so beautifully in the lights.

    Your prose glitters - I'm glad that love is lighting up all of the new realities around you! What a happy New Year you'll have!

  14. SA: Nothing quite like the routine being rattled, I know. :) I guess we need to have that happen every so often!

    We took down our tree yesterday because of needing to get ready for my TruckPacks. Astrid said the icicles are the ones originally made out of aluminum foil, not plastic, and yes, we did save them all...for her ex-husband, who will use them next year.

    We still need to thin out 2 of Astrid's bookcases. Also, today we've been filling out some official forms that are part of my staying process. So the new year is coming in with a bang, with miles to go before we sleep. Once the move and marriage and staying permit are complete, we can then maybe rest a bit...and celebrate!