How to make a Christmas Stick

Plastic Christmas trees are the most sustainable option because they last for ever. But does yours fill you with thoughts? ‘Here it is again.’ or ‘It’s always the same.’ Are the thoughts layered with vague nostalgia for something missing?

Look for a stick instead.

Dead willow tree

This willow, dried to a crisp by global warming in 2021, is just the right size.

Dead willow tree

Here it is. Happily waiting to get in the door. If trees could talk this one would be worrying about whether we have an open fire or not. It was in for a treat.

Decorations. A new approach.

The Christmas box groans with tinsel, half dead angels, sparkly reindeer with legs missing, bent paper stars and wooden toy soldiers. Why soldiers?

They are all talking about how great Christmas was and how perfect it must be. They can shut up and stay there. Take the minimal approach and allow one thing from each decade. (Or year if you don’t have enough decades to work on).


The robin who still lives.

Christmas robin on a tree

False birds were the ultimate in the 60’s. I know because we had several and the rule was ‘Don’t Touch’. Somehow I hung on to this one and so did several cats. He carries the tooth marks of all the cats I ever lived with. I cannot remember their names but he can.


Swedish glass

Swedish Glass Christmas decorations

Our grandmother sent an exciting box of presents from Sweden. Swedes know about Christmas so their presents have the best wrapping paper and finest curly ribbons, promising utter delight at what might lie within. She clearly thought that our Christmas needed sorting out as we all got these.

Glass on a string seemed like a poor present to me at the time. But I get it now and wish I had kept the rest of them.


The knitted Santa

Knitted Santa

Babies turned up with all their demands, sweetness, tantrums, insane beliefs in Santa and everything else that takes away a couple of decades in a flash. Their Grandmother didn’t know about glass things on string so she knitted a Santa in case anybody needed it.

The babies went off and grew up. I keep this Santa in case I need to conjure them up in my mind over Christmas.


The Pound Shop hit the high streets.

Christmas bauble on a grey day

Baubles! Only £1 for 10! No more looking sadly into department store windows wondering how Other People managed to cover their trees in such glory. Every tree needs a bauble, even if it is just one, to detract from the grey reality of the world outside.

The Millennium, The 2,000’s whatever you call it.

The Goat and the star.

Oxfam Star

Christmas went into overdrive, teenagers filled the house, presents gathered in huge important piles and grandparents revolted. If you grew up in the blitz, with just a biscuit and a lucky apple for Christmas day, this parade of Ninetendo/Nike/nonsense seemed out of control.

‘Just get me a goat’ said one. (grandparent, not teenager). It would have been interesting if he meant a sweet fluffy bleating pet kid goat, but he insisted on an Oxfam gift goat on paper.

He got that goat but we were programmed to give actual presents, so we got him this star too. He had to have Something to Unwrap.

The star comes out every year to remind us of goats.

2010’s teen bit of this century

What the friend sent.

Little people

Dear little people hand made by a friend. You can never go wrong with hand made people, or thoughts of friends.


Back to birds.

Christmas bird on tree

I sponsored another friend to cycle hundreds of miles across Kenya for something and she brought me back a bird. So now the tree has another bird and if any child ever comes in this house I definitely won’t let them touch it. Trees are for birds after all.

Christmas willow tree

And there it is. Our tree for 2023. I proudly showed this photo to a friend who said. ‘It looks like the sort of tree you see in a really expensive restaurant’.

My work is done.

No it isn’t

A long time ago it was summer. I skipped around the garden gathering blackcurrants and threw them in the freezer. Last week I had the great idea to turn them into jam, because everybody wants home made jam for Christmas. It is all they think about.

Black currants in the fridge

But it takes time to build up to making Jam. You have to let the berries defrost first.

5 thoughts on “How to make a Christmas Stick”

  1. My childhood christmases were mainly in th bauble centry but we had dont-touch- birds as well, from moms childhood. They were made from glass and very easy for cats to destoy indeed.
    Thanks for the lovely christmas read.

  2. I’d pay for this tree! Creative and heart warming. Have a lovely festive season. Have enjoyed reading your posts over the year- always happy to see the notification in my Inbox

  3. Hey Jo

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    I thought my Xmas tree held fond memories of decorations, but yours is truly gorgeous. Thank you for sharing, and your friend is correct, it does look like a very expensive tree found in a restaurant. Well done you, and good work!

    Enjoy the festivities to come!

    Mandy and Peter (Bonny’s neighbours)

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