I had originally thought of writing a story about how our Christmas really is a compilation of all our travel memories, and it will have some of that. However, our Christmas tree story for this year took a bit of a turn-more of that later. Right now its back to the original story. It usually takes alot longer than it should to decorate the tree because each ornament brings back memories of our travels. Here is a sampling of some of those memories:
Our Gaudi Christmas Decoration from Barcelona
Each decoration on our tree reminds us of times shared during our travels. This one reminds me of time spent a couple of years ago with our friends Eugene and Vida. Together we explored the amazing The Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s houses. We walked down Las Ramblas a beautiful street filled with history. News of the terrorist attack on that street and the Catalonian independence vote were far more meaningful to us when they happened recently.
Memories of Belize
A trip to a beautiful resort outside of Placencia with Aztec ruins and the heart stopping sound of howler monkeys. Walking around the artist community with our grandchildren and their parents. It was a wonderful trip.
Rainbow Row in Charleston SC
Christmases and times shared with our Charleston friends Don and Marjorie, Barb and Rick, and Lori and David in that beautiful city. Boating, crabbing, shopping for handbags at Moo Roo’s, spotting dolphins out on the water, visiting at the Saturday morning market and kayaking during a full moon on high tide. Oh what a time we had!
Not sure if this is a Christmas decoration or an Easter one, but it is on our tree. What a beautiful country! Definitely in our plans for a return visit.
Shopping at the City Stars Mall in Cairo, Egypt
Egypt brings back many wonderful memories of friends like Barb, Elise, Randa and her family, Medhat and the Nile River cruises that we took visitors on over and over again. We couldn’t get enough of the Hany’s off road trips. Everytime friends would visit we slyly asked them if they wanted to go on one or both of these trips-mainly because we wanted to go again!
Our music trip to Nashville and Memphis
One of our very favourite trips because it evoked such strong memories from our childhood! We headed west from Charleston to visit Nashville and its Country and Western hall of fame. The museum is organized according to decades of music. Starting at the top floor were songs that my grandmother sang as she baked in the kitchen. For me it was a strong connection to happy days from my childhood. In Memphis, we visited Sun Studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Kris Kristofferson played. We finished off the trip with tickets to the Grand Ole Opry and Graceland.
Four Years in London
During our first year in London, we suffered from cold weather and clouds. We had grown used to sunny weather in South Carolina and Egypt. Finally, we accepted the weather was just going to be what it was, and we ventured out to fall in love with London’s Oxford and Regent streets, Borough Market, the South Bank walk and so many other places. We lived in Surrey but took the train into London almost every Saturday to explore. Again, when friends visited, we took them to our favourite haunts!
Uzbekistan Crafts People
This ornament is made from ceramic and painted in a typical Uzbek pattern. It is done by local crafts people. We bought many variations of these for gifts for people back home.
The Black Forest in Germany
These are made of pewter and the precision of German craftsmen is evident. They are worked so Santa’s front shows his face and the reverse shows him from the back. Attention to detail is typically German. We loved Germany for its clean streets and tidy houses, for its excellent food, for its amazing destinations like Rotenberg, Baden Baden (Caracella Baths), Nuremberg (Christmas market), Triberg (cuckoo clocks and grandfather clocks), and for its events like the spargeltoast celebration (white asparagus in the spring), new wine celebration in the fall and fasching (like a mardi gras) in the winter months. To top it off we had an amazing landlord who made sure we saw everything that we should.
Now on to the Story of the 2017 Christmas Tree
These are but a sampling of our Christmas decorations – each bringing back a wealth of memories. It usually takes a couple of days for us to put up the tree as we sit and re-examine each ornament and reminence. This year the tree was put up after Remembrance Day. It was beautiful, but within a week the pre-lit branches were flashing eradically. The transformer and wall plug had burnt out, and electrical fumes filled the room. Of course, we unplugged it and we thought that the only solution was to rewire the tree with other lights. Down came all the decorations! And after the quick fix, they went back up again-this time with more efficiency and less reminiscing!
An Unsettling Feeling
I would have stopped there but a nagging feeling that a pre-lit tree should last longer than four seasons persisted. So I fired off a letter of complaint to Costco. Within a few days, we were told to bring it back for a full refund. Once again, down came all the decorations! Back into the box went the tree and we popped it into our trunk for a journey back to the store. We received a refund of $242 which was put on a gift card.
A Replacement is Found!
We were a bit disappointed to find that the only replacement on display was a nine foot tree. Too high for our sunroom where we like to have it. A little annoyed, we decided to reconcile ourselves into thinking we would have to wait until next year to buy a replacement, and went to purchase the few groceries that we needed. Then, lo and behold just beside the vegetable department tucked into a corner, a lit seven foot tree caught our attention. When we inquired about it, we were told it was $299, and that since it was a display tree, they could lower the price to $249. Our bargaining skills from Egypt kicked in and we asked for a final price of $200. For that we were told, we would have to go to see Connie – a higher level of management. A little flattery, some bad jokes and persistance with Connie scored us final price of $199. Our gift card could cover it, and we could also throw in a storage bag!
Finally Third Time Lucky-we hope..
Our tree got redorated for the third time this year in record time. We have bonded very pleasantly with good service at Costco. And we have a new tree with an amazing remote control device, and with advanced technology that means we do not have to plug in the rows of lights. Now our tree has a story and memories all of its own!