Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Touch of China Christmas Tree

We joined the millions of Americans who put up their Christmas trees over the Thanksgiving holiday. I've always had an eclectic Christmas tree -- can't seem to manage the one theme/one color type! We have ballet ornaments, Santas, snowmen, princesses, bells, angels, nativities, and many, many tacky and handmade ornaments. We have a few ornaments that are not exactly adoption-specific, but are meaningful in some way for adoptive families -- including a new one we bought at Hallmark this year called "Forever Family."

We also have lots of ornaments with the spirit of China. We've collected them over the years from a variety of sources, and not all of them were actually made to be Christmas ornaments. The girls get a real kick out of putting the Chinese ornaments on the tree, sometimes squabbling over who gets to put on what. I'm now trying to get two of any such ornaments to cut down on the fighting and so the girls can each have their own ornaments to take to their own homes when the time comes for them to put up a family Christmas tree with a touch of China in it.
Zoe loves this one since she was born in the Year of the Dragon -- World Market purchase.

Old man, complete with beard, but not at all Santa-like -- something a friend gave us (thanks, Lavelle!).

These lanterns came with a string of lights, but I just clip the lanterns onto bulbs on our pre-lit tree -- works like a charm. I can't remember where I got these, but it was sometime around Chinese New Year years ago.

I gave this to Zoe for her birthday. I thought she might want to use it as a backpack charm, but she wanted it on the Christmas tree!

We bought quite a few of these little dolls in ethnic minority costumes when we were in China in 2007. They're originally key chains, but we put them on the tree.

OK, I admit to being perverse enough to like the fact that we have a Buddha ornament on our Christmas tree! From World Market, one of the ornaments I got Zoe for her birthday.

Zoe made this at Chinese School (or was it China Camp? Culture Camp? I can't remember!).

I love this qi pao ornament -- a gift from my sister (thanks, Kim!) I think it was actually Kohl's that carried this ornament, together with the lantern ornament at the bottom (thanks again, Kim!).

I like that this panda looks like it's eating from our tree, rather than eating bamboo! Another World Market purchase.

Do you have something on your tree to commemorate your child's heritage? Adoption? Any ideas for ways to honor birth parents?


Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL!! I am so glad you got your tree up early this year, and love your ornaments! Just about every single one of our ornaments has special meaning, and we are going to miss our tree this year! My kids are collecting the "twelve days of Christmas" ornaments this year, and that's what we'll decorate our tree with. So far, we have 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, and 6 geese-a-laying. Some, like lords-a-leaping and maids-a-milking, are going to be really hard to find, but we're up to the challenge, and if we can find them anywhere, it will be in the awesome German Christmas markets.


Joanne said...

I do! We actually started a new tradition this year and put some of our China ornaments on it - it's in the foyer and Mia just loves it! I was laughing because our Christmas tree has everything on it too; handmade ornaments, old and new ornaments - it's beautiful :)

Michele said...

Our tree has many China themed ornaments, several are the same as yours including the red glass dragon and a Forever Family Hallmark ornament from a couple of years ago. We also put up a small tabletop tree with ornaments exchanged with a group of families that all adopted in 2002. Each family collected the ornaments during their trip to China - miniature clay teapots, fortune gourds, candy silk doll bags, glass chilis, zodiac animals and Pucca ethnic dolls plus ornaments made of jade, cloisonné, sandalwood, embroidery, and paper cuts, My daughter loves her special all China tree.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I'll post mine next week... we decorate our trees on Dec. 5th every year because it's our wedding anniversary AND my all-time favorite activity.

LisaLew said...

I love that Forever Family Hallmark ornament, I am going to buy more than one! (Perhaps extra as gifts....) Thanks for posting your lovely and well thought out decorations.

Lesley said...

My mom always gave my brother and I an ornament for Christmas, his was always ski/winter related, mine was always horses. I started doing this with my own kids, though I didn't force a theme on them. They love getting out their special box of ornaments and hanging them on the tree. I got my son the red glass dragon this year! I found an "X" for my daughter at Target - not often we find something with her initial. I just got a Ying Ying ornament from China Sprout for myself. Our tree is eclectic and every ornament has a little story. I love it. :) Thanks for sharing yours.

The Gang's Momma! said...

We're really new to this, so I'm very encouraged by the ideas you've shared here. Particularly that some of them can be found in places like Hallmark and Kohl's. Makes it really accessible to us all now that we are home. When we were in China, we weren't with it enough to think that far ahead to Christmas. And shopping was not really in our travel budget that trip either.

I have a question: my mom started a tradition of buying a "First Christmas" ornament for each grandchild, engraved with their DOB and the year she gave the gift. She got one for Li'l Empress last year and left it un-engraved so we could settle on wording that we felt honored the difference btw. First Christmas and First Christmas with us. I want to have it engraved this year.

Have any of you come across such a situation? Any suggestions for me? I didn't get to it last year as the holidays were already over when we got the gift from Grandma . . . Now it's out and staring at me on the counter!

Dr. Anderson said...

I am not sure which date you should choose, but my younger daughter actually brought this up today. She said she had had Christmas holidays since she was born. I pointed out that when she was in China, she may not have celebrated Christmas. But she says, she was still alive during Christmas whether it was celebrated or not. She is doing a project for her 1st grade class where they are supposed to decorate a small tree the way it is decorated in a country of their choice. From our research, we learned that Christians who celebrate Christmas in China decorate their trees with paper chains, flowers, and lanterns. So, I guess we will be making some little bitty chains, flowers, and lanterns for our 8" tall tree!

Dr. Anderson said...

Oh, that first line should say that she had had 5 Christmas holidays since she was born.

Jeff and Madeline said...

My daughter was in foster care and did celebrate Christmas as her foster mother is Christian, you may want to check to see if her orphanage or foster family had a celebration as she may have celebrated there too.

Mahmee said...

Oh yes...we have many things we purchased in China that are specifically for Christmas (we were there at Christmastime) or, have become Xmas ornaments. Due to a less than timid kitten this year, we made a lot of the ornaments including our take on Chinese lanterns. We also usually have some things up that give a nod toward our other family heritage...french, german, cherokee, irish, norwegian...we are quite the melting pot.

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