I love red baubles. I believe that a third of all the baubles I have collected and saved over 20 years are red.
On its own a big red bauble is good enough to eat like a strawberry or an apple.
A collection of red baubles is like a plate of summer berries.
Bountiful, like a Maurice Sendak Christmas tree. I’m always drawn to the red baubles before the other decorations. When I had very little money, it went on red baubles.
Like these Deka strawberries:
I bought these glittered strawberries in the very early 1990’s at Deka in Wellington. It must have been the early 1990’s because I think they closed in the mid-1990’s. They are polystyrene, lightly carved to a vaguely strawberry shape and dipped in glitter. They don’t look quite right because they have no seeds and because a really tasty strawberry would be a darker red, like my big red bauble. I think I originally had 12 polystyrene strawberries. A few broke at the stalks and they always seems to shed glitter but I still have about 10 and they look pretty much as they did when I bought them. My husband doesn’t like them, he thinks they look too cheap. I always put them on the tree early, just after the lights and the tinsel to add depth, but also partly because he’s right, they don’t look great.
The second oldest red baubles in my collection are red mushrooms, little amanita muscarias with their white dots. They came in great clusters of 15 or 16 wound together with florist’s wire.
They are painted in hard wearing lacquer. Over the years I have unwound the clusters so as to mix them about on the tree. What I’ve learned is the more you fiddle with the wire, the greater the risk that the wire will break off from the mushroom at the joint. So I only have 6 or 7 left in total.
Later on I was able to afford more ornate decorations. But I still chose a lot of red baubles that looked like fruit. This crystalline apple below reflects the light, but I’m not sure it would be good to eat.
The reason that I know that about a third of my baubles are red is that a few years ago I had the opportunity to put up a Christmas tree using only red decorations and red tinsel. I thought it was going to be the best tree ever. But it wasn’t:
I know its a bad picture but the effect wasn’t really any better in person. All the red decorations and tinsel didn’t really stand out against the green of the tree. The eye couldn’t pick anything out from the morass so the tree didn’t hold attention. What I thought would be the essence of bountiful didn’t look like anything. I’m sure that a careful designer could make an all red tree that worked, but I bet it would involve some editing so that a pattern could emerge, like a mass planting of flowers. So now I try and use my beloved red baubles in moderation, as in my 2015 tree, where they were mixed with white and gold.