Saturday, December 3, 2011

O Christmas Tree

When I was in 2nd grade, my Sunday School teacher took a Polaroid photo of me and each of my classmates as we stood in front of a church Christmas tree. We pasted those pictures onto cream-colored tag board stars, and then carefully pasted burnt matchsticks onto each of the star points. This little Linda star was a Christmas present for my mom and dad that year, and it was placed on the tree that year and for several years beyond.

When my kids were in preschool, each of them had the opportunity to make an ornament from an inverted flat-bottomed ice cream cone. A pipe cleaner was stuck through the bottom to make a hook, and the cone was covered with white icing. Colorful cereal pieces were stuck into the icing and the Christmas bell was ready to hang on the tree. Each sticky bell had it's one glorious year on the tree.

Whether it reappears year after year or adorns the tree only once, a home-made ornament is a beautiful and memorable gift.

The first time we were in El Salvador for Christmas, I was surprised to see Christmas trees. I guess I thought that the Tannenbaum was a German tradition, not really Salvadoran, and I had never seen Christmas pines in the Salvadoran forest or on tree farms. Well, the magic of the global economy had brought plastic trees to El Salvador and a few homes and many public places hosted Christmas trees. My favorite tree was decorated with homemade ornaments -- gold-painted tortillas and bright red ribbon. I like to think about the kids and moms making the tortillas, poking holes into them and letting them dry, painting them gold and stringing wire into them to hang them from the tree. The poinsettia flowers on the tree were not real, although red poinsettia flowers line the streets and pathways of rural El Salvador during December. A simple idea and a beautifully simple tree.

We've done a little Christmas caroling in El Salvador, singing together songs which we have in common. I came across a pretty good version of O Christmas Tree in Spanish from Ask.com.
Qué verdes son
(O Tannenbaum)
(Oh, Christmas Tree)

Qué verdes son, qué verdes son las hojas del abeto.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son las hojas del abeto.
En Navidad qué hermoso está con su brillar de luces mil.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son las hojas del abeto.

Qué verdes son, qué verdes son las hojas del abeto.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son las hojas del abeto.
Sus ramas siempre airosas son, su aroma es encantador.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son las hojas del abeto.



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