Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Tin Foil Star

A tin foil* star resides atop our Christmas tree. Brian skillfully crafted it out of poster board (perhaps a file folder?) and foil in 1984--our very first Christmas together.
(Brian making our tin foil star, Christmas 1984)
             
Our first tree was flocked (as per my family's tradition) and its branches were sparse to allow ample ornament hang (as per Brian's family's tradition.) We purchased one box of small glass balls and a string of lights for our little tree. The rest of the ornaments I had received as gifts over the years.
(Our first Christmas tree, 1984)
Secretly I had wanted a shiny and glittery tree topper like those found only at the fanciest of department stores, but Brian's star made me happy. I figured it would do until we could find something else. Years past and I finally did find a beautiful gold star to top our tree. Brian, ever the sentimental, wanted to continue with our first tinfoil and cardboard star, but I convinced him to let me use the "nicer" one for almost a decade.
(Me adding the star to the tree, Christmas 1984)
Then, in my thirties, something happened to my proud tree-topper heart. For some reason that year, when we pulled the old silver star from the box to retell the story of our first Christmas together, I allowed it to be placed atop our now round, fat, ornament-laden tree. Perhaps it was the Christmas that my brother passed away? I'm really not sure of the exact date, but from that time forward our tin foil star has presided at the pinnacle of our Christmas celebration. 
It is a symbol to me of humility, of gratitude, and of what really matters. It is memories. It is family. It is pure love. I don't even care that the foil has pulled away from one of the points. That endears it all the more to me.
(Christmas 2012)

"Star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright. Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light."


*In reality it is made from aluminum foil, but for some reason I grew up calling the substance tin foil and continue the usage today. :)

22 comments:

Garden of Egan said...

We have a very similar story.
My husband "built" a pretty fancy star for our first Christmas together and we used it for years and LOVED it. I have no idea where it is now, but I wish I knew where is was.

Cute star and story.
Love your tree. Very beautiful.

Shannon said...

Perfect timing! I meant to ask you about it this morning, but it slipped my mind once outside. (Not really that hard to do some days!) What a terrific story. I love trees decorated with memories. Yours is beautiful!

Suzanne said...

We called it "tin foil" in our house growing up too! Just one more thing we have in common. I love traditions and your tin foil star is a beautiful one!

Pedaling said...

this is the best Christmas themed post I've read all month.

the story of your tin star, the beauty of the pictures that you posted....i am touched and love the symbolism of getting back to the humility and focus of the true meaning!

Merry Christmas!

Valerie said...

What a great story!
Time has a way of changing our perspective on things, doesn't it?

I call it "tin foil" too~

Saimi said...

I think that's wonderful that you're using your first star, what a special memory! You're tree is beautiful and as for your first tree, it reminds me of our first tree.

Love those humble beginnings, they're the best!

Jill from PJgamers said...

I love this! My parents made their first star out of a cheese-gift box and a bit of gold garland....and used it for as long as I can remember. I always loved it.
♡ Jill

Jenny said...

This is why I love you so much!

Jennilyn said...

Well said and perfect. Tin foil to me, too. I am laughing thinking about a way to preserve it, as is (the same way that quilt police will put veil-netting over falling-apart quilts to try and hold it together without interfering with the patina of age)but your photos are doing a great family history preserving already!

Rachel said...

:) You know I love the foil star. Our tree, I think you know, is topped by a cookie cutter. I knew the story of your star and copying it seemed blasphemous and anti-climatic. So David discovered I owned a star cookie cutter (which was conveniently broken to allow for placement on the tree) and it is there this year.

I think it is rather silly looking and usually I'm the sentimental "NO! Don't mess with tradition!" one but he told me he wants to keep using it forever...sigh.

Love him.

2busy said...

I love it! So many memories wrapped up in that special star. All the fancy tree toppers in the world cannot hold a light to that star.

Haunani Thunell said...

I love this! We have had an angel tree topper on our tree for YEARS that my oldest daughter made using a toilet paper roll when she was in Kindergarten. We used it on our tree for years until I had the great idea to buy a beautiful, sparkly star. The first star was too heavy. The second star broke. And the third (and current star, just continues to make the top of the tree bend to the right. I still have Savannah's little glittery toilet paper angel, and after reading your post, I might have to put her back up in her place. Thanks for the beautiful reminder that simple, traditions are the ones that mean the most.

Dixie Mom said...

I love that story and that you had those great pictures to go with it! What a treasure!

Mom to Many said...

You must have been wealthy newly weds to have a flocked tree. (Just kidding.) :)

J. said...

So touching and it looks really good on your big tree! Right now we have the hodge podge tree of mismatched ornaments, some that the kids made themselves, and colored lights but I often think that I'll look forward to the day when I can have my glamorous tree again. I might have to rethink...

Mrs.Spy said...

I love it. I think when you're young and broke, you look at what others have and wish you had it, too. Then when you're older and you have all of the 'stuff' you look at the tender way young families and newlyweds invest so much heart into their holidays, because they can't just go to Target and buy it- and once again- you want wish you had what others have. If you're smart and lucky (like you are) you realize that and make the holiday a season of the heart, like it was always meant to me.

Kristin Klein said...

LOVE the tin-foil star! I'm so impressed you can include these fun photos of Christmas past! Way to go :) I should do a little searching myself . . . and I'm thinking the star would be perfect atop our tree this year . . .

Kristin

Bobi Jensen said...

Aw, that made me cry! I love it!

Bobi
http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com

Marianne said...

What a beautiful tradition. And I LOVE seeing the pictures of you and Brian from 1984. You are aging SO beautifully!!

Jenny Lynn said...

Now that is just a beautiful memory. We did something similar, only our tree was not flocked. We had to barrow tree lights from my in-laws.

Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas Holiday with your family.

Lacy@uphillandsmiling said...

What a beautiful and memorable tradition! You two look so cute :) I love sentimental stories like that -simple things that really mean something. It's the story behind it, not the thing itself, that makes it special no matter how "fancy" it is. I love the pictures too.

Thanks, Julie, for always reading my blog and being so kind. I'm going to try harder this year to read everyone else's blogs too! :)

Sophi Belle said...

Hi! I enjoyed reading your story and looking at the old pics. Thank you for sharing them, I just LOVE old photos. :)