© proudly created by Catherine Respess of Red Mare Enterprises

Photography by Jamie Johnson

A Christmas Tree of Memories

December 22, 2016

When I was twelve, my dad experienced some business setbacks. He worked in advertising, so this happened periodically. If you ever watched the series, Mad Men, that was pretty much my life growing up. I joke that my dad was Don Draper, if Draper had been Jewish and monogamous.

 

Anyway, because of this crisis, my mother announced that we would no longer have a Christmas tree. She was too stressed to deal with it. (If you're wondering how "Jewish" and "Christmas tree" got in the same blog post, my mother is Italian, born in the old country. Since my dad was an only child and her entire family was Catholic - except for her, but that's another post - we gravitated toward those holidays, with the occasional Passover thrown in.)

 

The thought of Christmas without a tree devastated me. Except for the gifts - hey, I was a kid after all - it was my favorite part of the holiday. So I announced that I would take over the task. And I did.

 

I've been Christmas Tree Commander-in-Chief ever since.


Every year, I craft decorations for the tree...

 

I collect them as well. Christmas ornaments are the perfect travel souvenir, small enough to fit in any suitcase but filled with lovely memories. A conch shell from Cornwall. A handmade tree toy from Mexico. And lots of ornaments from Louisiana. Painted pictures on cypress. Mardi Gras dolls. Miniature bonfires (which will figure prominently in A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING, the third book in my Cajun Country Mystery series.)

 

 This year, I decided it would be fun to make ornaments inspired by both Louisiana and my book series. Decoupage produced a few cute ones...

 

 I even resuscitated a craft I haven't done in years, silk ribbon embroidery, to create an ornament featuring fleur de lis and a magnolia blossom, the state flower of Louisiana...

 

 

But of all the baubles I've made that commemorate either my series or Louisiana, my favorite is this mini stocking...

 

 

 

I did the needlepoint and my friend, Suzanne Welke, did the brilliant finishing work. When I hang this small stocking on our Christmas tree, it will be a wonderful reminder of the state I love and the mystery series I am lucky enough to write.

 

To anyone reading this blog post, thank you so much for your time and support. May your holiday be filled with wonderful memories and beautiful ornaments... this year and always.

 

With love and gratitude,

 

Ellen

 

Readers, do you have special ornaments for your Christmas tree, or a favorite holiday memory?

 

 

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