"It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas"

We cut a beautiful Douglas Fir tree at McBurney’s Tree Farm in Cedar Ridge this afternoon (while enjoying the crackling outdoor fire and hot chocolate); brought it home in our Chevy pickup (free netting and loading, as always); and hung its branches with our beloved collection of hand-blown glass ornaments. Each one has a “story.” We wrap them in tissue paper like jewels and store them in big, sturdy boxes in the garage.

It is an eclectic collection: Some of them date back to my grandma Ella’s childhood in Park City, Utah (fragile!). Others come from the famed Podesta Baldocchi Flowers in San Francisco (a fabulous store that made a cameo appearance in Hitchcock’s Vertigo), the striking Neiman Marcus Rotunda, fabled Bullock’s Wilshire in Los Angeles, and joyous FAO Schwarz in Manhattan, as well as our trips to Europe. One is from Tokyo, a harrowing journey for such a fragile thing.

Our son Mitchell made some of the ornaments in grade school at Mt. St. Mary Academy (one reads “I love everyone in the world”). Others are vintage hand-painted ornaments from the iconic De Carlini in Italy (https://www.unoallavolta.com/…/artisan/the-de-carlini-family) and  The Christopher Radko Company (https://slate.com/…/christopher-radko-the-man-who-super-siz…).

Some have nicknames, such as “Icicle Man.” And I’m sad to say that a few (like “Mr. Octopus” with its fragile tentacles) broke in past years.

As a child, I used to lie down on the floor under the tree and look up into the ornaments and lights, imagining a magical world. Now it’s an opportunity to reflect upon the past and contemplate another New Year.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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