Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Great Christmas Tree Tragedy of 2008 ...

After reading through the various Gothidays posts last week, a recurring theme seemed to be the sentimental feelings everyone had with regard to certain special ornaments from Christmases past. The insomniac  also had such a collection of memorable ornaments, and decorated the family tree with them right up until 2008 - the year of the Great Christmas Tree Tragedy. A few days before Christmas that fateful year, at approximately 5:00 a.m., there was a tremendous crash, a yelp from the dog, and the sound of thundering paws taking the stairs three at a time up to the second floor. And then ... silence.

Tentatively going downstairs to investigate, the insomniac  and the eldest offspring found the 10-foot tree lying on the floor. After righting the tree, it was discovered that not only were most of the ornaments broken, but to add insult to injury, EVERYTHING was covered in doggie diarrhea. Kaos had rather odd bathroom habits, always finding it necessary to bury his head in a tree or bush before going about his business. We deduced that was probably what he was attempting to do in the Christmas tree that morning. Luckily for the spouse, he had already been called in to work at 2:00 a.m. and did not have to deal with the cleanup. The youngest stood by and sobbed helpfully, while the insomniac  and the eldest dragged the stinking mess outside.  

Almost all the special ornaments collected over the years were broken that day, and a new Christmas tree had to be hurriedly purchased along with a new set of multi-coloured lights (all the white lights were sold out by then). Since that year, even though Kaos is no longer with us, holiday decorations in the Gothic Mansion consist primarily of pine cones and antlers and old Christmas postcards; durable items which are hard to break. And although the lives of many ornaments were lost in the Great Tragedy that year, we still speak of it with much laughter accompanied by the shaking of heads, and it has become a new cherished memory for the family.

Kaos still got a present that year, regardless. Watching him open
them was really the highlight of Christmas for all of us ...

Taking a cue from her Sainted Father, who used to take old Christmas cards and apply them to scrap pieces of wood, the insomniac  started a collection of antique Christmas postcards that year. It has proven to be an excellent way to decorate, with the added bonus of being cheaper and much more durable than glass ornaments.

The original Santa ornaments created by the SF.
They've been repaired so many times, it's not even funny.

Lately, the insomniac  has started scanning the original cards, printing them out and pasting them onto a piece of cardboard; the final touch being the addition of lots and lots of glitter (she prefers Stickles glitter glue which is available in a gazillion colours and has a nice sharp point, enabling extremely detailed glitter work). The edges are aged with a Distress Ink Pad - the Old Paper colour gives a lovely weathered look to the piece. Working with a copy leaves the postcards in their original condition, on the off-chance they might actually be worth something to a Real Collector some day.

As always, click the image to view the larger size, then use the RightClick-Save feature to make use of the samples for your own crafting purposes.

The SF made little stands for his Santa ornaments.

The insomniac  can't be bothered and
props them up against any available vertical surface.

Sample 1

Displayed with dried flowers from the eldest offspring's annual
“Mom, I feel terrible that I forgot your birthday again this year!” bouquet.

His memory is almost  as bad as his mother's ...  ;o)

Sample 2

This next card provided the inspiration to use peacock feathers in this year's brown, gold and black display on the buffet ...

This year, peacock feathers ...

 ... next year, sea shells.

Unlike a true postcard connoisseur, there is no particular rhyme nor reason to the insomniac's  Christmas Postcard Collection, but she does have a special fondness for those with angels; especially angels with deer. The unsurpassable favourite is unquestionably the dead bird postcard, but despite numerous eBay searches she has never been able to find another. Cards are chosen strictly for their aesthetic appeal, no matter their condition (there's always Photoshop) or what language the holiday sentiment is expressed in.

For the Croatian/Bosnian readers ...

For the German readers ...

For the Scandinavian readers ... sorry, no deer.

The insomniac  had every intention this week of also including instructions for do-it-yourself votives made with dresden trims and pages removed from an old book, as well as glittered stars and bats made from those same pages, but decided mid-week it was of paramount importance the kitchen chairs be painted black before last night's holiday party instead. Perhaps because one no longer participates in the Christmas Shopping Frenzy at the mall in search of new ornaments, there remains some deep-seated need to recreate that feeling of panic, compelling one to undertake unrealistic kitchen makeovers three days before the next batch of company arrives.

In any event, be sure to gather up any small glass containers for next week's votive instructions, which you will definitely be able to complete before Christmas Day. But they'll look just fine displayed all year long, in case you decide your kitchen chairs need painting this week instead. A word of warning, though ... they are  glass and they will  break.

The Favourite

She is displayed year-round up in the real third-floor attic sewing room,
but comes downstairs for Christmas ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. And also wishes you Compliments of the Season. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

32 comments:

  1. What a story! It sounds like something out of a movie! How awful! Still, the new decorations are lovely and creative!

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    1. Thank you, Laura! Although the insomniac  was quite upset about the loss of quite a few ornaments that had been passed down through our families, four years later the ornaments have come to mean far less and the memory of Kaos' misadventure far more! :o)

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  2. I love all of the vintage cards! I'm going to print out the dead bird one and give it to my husband for Christmas, I think he will appreciate it.

    One year my grandmother used photocopies of similar vintage Santa Clauses to decorate gingerbread cookies- she glued them on with a little frosting. They looked nice but peeling the paper off was tricky.

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    1. If your husband appreciates the dead bird card, then he's a fine man indeed! ;o)

      That's a very clever and original idea of your grandmother's! One wonders if there might be some sort of edible paper these days so it wouldn't have to be peeled off before consumption? Now that would be an awesome family tradition - dead bird cookies! :D

      On second thought, you'd still have to worry about the toxicity of the ink, so perhaps not ...

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  3. A Christmas story that is funny only after much time has passed. Priceless now. And such beautiful antique cards.

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    1. Ah yes, truer words were never spoken, Gracie! It was only after Kaos' passing that his memory became so much more important than the memory of those ornaments!

      There is something beautiful about old postcards, isn't there? Sometimes they are purchased simply for the sentiments expressed on the back or the beautiful handwriting. They really are little treasures - and they don't break. ;o)

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  4. Your house must be beautiful. I love the vintage cards as well. Although I would do not do what my Aunty does; each year she puts up the last card she sent / received form deceased family and buys them flowers…. And she thinks I’m weird for been Goth !

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    1. Oooh, your Aunty's tradition is somewhat unusual but actually rather nice, isn't it? And how astounding that she finds YOU weird!

      It is a lovely house, and we feel fortunate to have been able to live here for twenty-five years. It has been a wonderful place to raise our family and holds many nice memories - including the memory of a knocked-over Christmas trees by the hound! :o)

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  5. Stories like yours about your 2008 tree experience make me glad that I'm more of a...(gulp)...cat person? (stated with great apprehension) Seriously though, I enjoyed seeing the vintage cards. Somehow, they always seem a cut above the newer ones.

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    1. Cats are lovely, too! Unfortunately, the insomniac  is really, REALLY allergic to cats, which is why we've been more of a dog family. And that's not the only thing he destroyed over the years, either - ooooh, there are STORIES!! One often wonders if naming him Kaos was maybe a mistake ... :D

      There is something about a vintage card that's nicer than a new one - maybe it's the faded colours or something? :o)

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    2. I find the art on vintage cards to be interesting. There's just something about older art and graphics that I find appealing. Perhaps it also reminds me of what Christmas was like when I was a child--simpler and a little less commercial perhaps.

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    3. That's probably it, Nightwind ... we're becoming nostalgic for the kinder, gentler Christmases we remember from back in the day. Although in the insomniac's  case, that would be way, waaaaay back in the day! :o)

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  6. Haha, aaaw, poor Kaos! I love dogs, so if that would happen to me I would just look happy and throw the Xmas tree out :D Beautiful doggie!
    Love the cards, specially the first and last one because of the outdoor views :)

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    1. If one remembers correctly, poor Kaos didn't move from his bed for at least three hours after the event - probably quite a shock to have a tree topple over on him in the middle of his bathroom ritual! :D

      Snowy scenes on Christmas cards are always nice, aren't they? :o)

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  7. I'm glad you were able to have a sense of humor about the Christmas Tree tragedy! Have you seen the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"? About the only thing that doesn't happen to that family's tree is what happened to yours. :) It's worth checking out. I'm sure you'd be able to relate!

    Mounting the postcards on a hard surface is a good idea. I've collected some antique Christmas postcards over the years and they could use a little support. I love that Art Nouveau postcard and plate of yours. They are both beautiful!

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    1. Truthfully, Kaos did get called quite a few unsavoury names that morning, but he was like our third child and one could never stay mad at him for long. We'll have to check out the National Lampoon movie - it sounds like fun!

      The plate and card are a nice match, aren't they? That was a happy accidental discovery this year! :o)

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  8. I love the look of vintage postcards, they're true treasures, to be sure. That's a wonderful story about Kaos and the tree!

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    1. Thank you, Pale Lady - and thank you for commenting! Really, vintage postcards are the best, and the tree incident just provided an excuse to start a whole new collection. As if one needs to start another collection of anything! LOL.

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  9. OMG, that is absolutely hilariously terrible! Sounds like an incident worthy of a Griswold Christmas!

    My parent's dog has been trained to not go into the "Christmas Tree Room" (i.e. living room) all year round- mostly because they're afraid that her claws will scratch up the hardwood floor in there, so we haven't had any tree incidents due to the dog. The tree just usually fell over on its own until dad started reinforcing it to the wall with fishing line. :)

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    1. Your parents are clever not to allow the dog into the Christmas Tree Room! One vaguely remembers that one's own father used to do something similar with fishing line when the insomniac  was young. Until we finally got an aluminum tree which never fell down. **shudders dramatically**  ;o)

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  10. I have to admit I was open mouthed reading that Christmas tale. Its great that you can laugh about it now.

    Ali x

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    1. Ha. Ha. Ha.

      Seriously though, one was probably more upset about being woken up from a rare good sleep than the mass destruction that morning. A little disturbed by the diarrhea though - ugh. :o)

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  11. Poor Kaos! He must have been scared and ashamed then. I'm so sorry for your loss of your christmas collection. I would have been very sad if I lost mine. I usually try a colourtheme so I never use all of it at once. I have to admit it is a lovely story to laugh about later. Thank you so much for sharing your vintage postcards. a very nice idea :) I have my own collection I could share for you so you will have a more clips to work with :)

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    1. Yes, he was scared and probably ashamed, too - he was a rather sensitive dog. And although it was difficult the following year not to have the ornament collection to hang on the tree, it's not so much anymore. But if one still did have a collection, your idea of a colour theme is a very good one. That way, every year there is something on the tree you haven't seen in a while! :o)

      It would be lovely to see your vintage postcard collection ... how nice that you have one as well! ;o)

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  12. Oh my! I imagine that incident was no fun cleaning up after xD

    The vintage cards are so pretty! <3 Well everything you put in your house seem to be pretty!

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    1. Nope, no fun whatsoever! And fragile glass Christmas ornaments are surprisingly difficult to wash off! :P

      Thank you, Lesthi! But no, not everything in the house is pretty ... you just don't get to see pictures of the stuff that isn't!

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  13. I love this story and it reminds me of the two times we have had little kitties and Christmas trees. One year we actually wired the tree attached to the wall and door opening, to make sure the kamikaze kitten we had wouldn't flip it over. And yes, I only had plastic baubles for a few years. Since last year though, glass baubles are allowed back :)

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    1. One had heard rumours from a friend with a cat that they were just as bad with Christmas trees as dogs! Pets, eh? Good thing they're so darned cute ... ;o)

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  14. Very pretty Cards... I love this kind of Christmas Cards...

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    1. Thank you, Madame Kismet! Working on the votives for next week as we speak! :o)

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  15. Oh, my! I feel guilty about how much I laughed over the Great Christmas Tree Tragedy tale! You're absolutely right, those kinds of stories always end up being the best... once the trauma fades and your eye eventually stops twitching. ;)

    I love all your postcard craft. Just beautiful! And that Scandinavian postcard is particularly adorable! Thanks for such an enjoyable read!

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    1. It does make for an excellent story, doesn't it? **twitch ... twitch**  ;o)

      The muted colours in the Scandinavian card are beautiful, and that chubby-cheeked little girl with her doll is just too adorable.

      The insomniac is delighted you enjoyed the postcards, and reading this week's post! :D

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