White and gold tree


At the beginning of my second Christmas Decorating Party, my friend Rachel began sorting the tinsel, decorations and lights into piles of different colours, white and silver in one pile, then another gold, another red and finally everything else together – the misfit pile.  She declared confidently, the large tree is going to be white and gold.

I was having Christmas dinner at home that year and Rachel’s parents, visiting from the UK, were coming.  In light of this unusual level of Christmas at home I had bought a new and very large plastic tree, a real but small pine tree and had kept my other plastic tree from the previous year.

I was taken aback at the proposal for a white and gold Christmas tree.  For 22 years, more than half my life at that time, I had decorated my Christmas trees in the spirit of Maurice Sendak’s Christmas tree in The Nutcracker.  My Christmas trees were a bountiful Christmas cornucopia.  I was pretty sure I’d shown Rachel the book.  I protested and moaned a bit, but in the end I let Rachel get on with directing the white and gold tree, this was her Christmas too.  The other decorations could go on the other trees in the dining room, a red tree with my favourite red baubles and a misfit tree with every other quirky bauble that had caught my eye over the years.

The white and gold tree in progress

I worked on the red and misfit trees and wondered what the white and gold tree would look like.

When everyone had gone I went to inspect the white and gold tree.

It was a lot shinier than  I expected.  Rachel had used yellow LED lights and they reflect off the gold tinsel and decorations, surrounding itself with a golden glow of light reflecting back off the wallpaper.

And when you got closer to the tree, the gold light picked out the white decorations leaving them in beautiful contrast.  I have to admit, it was a magnificent tree.


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