A Little Felt Tree

Studly Doright and I were married in July of 1976. I was just shy of twenty, while he was only 18. Broke, stupid, and in love, we had no idea then of the hurdles we’d have to jump over on our way to 43 years of marriage and beyond.

As our first Christmas as a married couple approached we had to set some new guidelines. I was set on keeping up my family’s Christmas traditions while he was equally set on keeping his. We managed to compromise fairly well, but there was one thing I insisted on–a live tree at least six feet tall. Studly’s family had a smaller tree that stood on a short table, as I recall.

I got my way that year, and we soon had our beautiful tall tree standing in its brand new red and green tree strand awaiting decorations. There was just one problem–we had no ornaments. None. And that tree had eaten up most of our disposable income.

My mom came to the rescue. She gave us three kits of felt ornaments that I could stitch together and decorate. One set featured characters from the Wizard of Oz.

Another set included typical Christmas characters–an angel, a snowman, and a Santa.

The last set featured Christmas trees and wreaths. I’ve managed to lose the wreaths, but my Christmas trees have hung in there (pun intended) all these years.

Several days ago I was scavenging for book five in the Harry Potter series at our local Goodwill book store when I came across a little felt tree hanging from the store’s tree. It was exactly like the one I’d made all those years ago

I wondered if some young woman had lovingly stitched the pieces together, adding shiny sequins where indicated by the kit’s directions. Had she been as nervous about her future as I was about mine?

And I wondered why this poor felt tree came to be all by itself at the Goodwill store. Of course I bought it and brought it home. I introduced the ornament to its counterparts on my tree, and then I let our elf on the shelf comfort it.

Welcome home, little tree.

Peace, people.

Angels 

Studly Doright and I married on July 30, 1976. We were young, in love, and profoundly broke. I hadn’t really noticed just how broke we were until our first Christmas rolled around.

We managed to buy a sad little tree, but we had no ornaments. I know now there existed women who could whip up some crafty ornaments using a mixture of baking soda, grape jelly, and crushed leaves, but I was not one of those women. And this was way before Pinterest. 

My mother came to the rescue. She bought me two kits of do-it-yourself felt ornaments. At first I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t, and still can’t, sew, but I began working on the ornaments a little bit every evening, hanging them on the tree as I finished. 

 
In the beginning there were twelve ornaments, but after 16 moves in 39 years of marriage a couple have gone missing. One wreath shaped ornament was last seen being tossed around by our Siamese cat, aptly named Holly. Said wreath had a decidedly bedraggled air before it disappeared for good around 1996. The other missing ornament just went A.W.O.L. one year, perhaps fearing it would meet a death similar to that of the mangled wreath.

My favorite of the lot are the scarecrow and the angel.

  
Poor scarecrow is holding on, but just barely. He is missing an eye and his hat has undergone drastic alterations, but he continues to smile. I feel like scarecrow is my spirit animal. 

  
The angel has fared better than the rest of the crew. All but one of her sequins remain intact. She’s still praying for peace, and she means it. 

After my mom passed away I began collecting angels. Some are intricately carved, others beautifully crafted. A few were quite expensive. But this little felt angel, given to me that first Christmas of my marriage by my mother and sewn imperfectly by me, is the one I cherish most.

Peace, people.