Christmas in the Tropics

Last night, I assembled my Christmas tree. As I child, that phrase would have sounded sacrilegious to me. I grew up in a family where we always had a real tree. Both sets of grandparents had real trees. Everyone that I knew had a real tree. Just the idea of a fake tree made me so sad.

Fake Christmas tree

Then, in high school, I went to Venezuela as an exchange student. I was there for a year, not allowed to return home at any point, and so I celebrated Christmas with my Venezuelan family and learned their customs. Luckily for me, one of their traditions was to have a Christmas tree, and it made me feel a little more at home. Since there are not many pine trees in Venezuela the tree was a fake one. I appreciated it nonetheless. The following pictures are pictures of pictures, so I apologize for the poor quality. Here is Papá beginning to assemble the tree with Virggi and María Eugenia behind him.

Assembling a fake Christmas tree in Venezuela

Mamá, Eugenio and Virggi starting to decorate the tree.

Decorating a fake Christmas tree in Venezuela

Eugenio and I making paper snowflakes. This was not one of their customs rather something that I taught them. My family in the States always made paper snowflakes to decorate the house at Christmas.

Cutting paper snowflakes in Venezuela

Abuelo and María Eugenia in front of the pesebre. The pesebre or nativity scene is a tradition in the Andes Mountain region of Venezuela where I lived. This is a small one compared to many that I saw. Some of them fill entire rooms and have running water.

Venezuelan pesebre

While I lived in the Chicago area, it made more sense for me to have a fake Christmas tree since I would return to New York for the holiday. A real tree would have died in the two weeks I was away, and I would have been sad not to have any tree at all. So, I bought a fake one, and now that I have it I see no sense in buying a real tree every year. This is the tree that I use. Besides, it makes me think of my Venezuelan family every time I put it up.

Assembling a fake Christmas treeAssembling a fake Christmas treeAssembling a fake Christmas tree

This year I will be celebrating Christmas with them again. My sister Virggi, the little girl in the pictures, is now 31 and getting married on December 21, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to share that special day with her and the rest of the family.

Fake Christmas tree

Happy Homemaking!

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I am a teacher, traveler, artist, writer, homemaker and a whole lot more. In January 2009, I bought the Cape of Dreams. It was the second house that I had ever owned, but it was the first that I bought by myself. I now live in the house with my husband Douglas, our dog Kahlua, and Crème de Menthe, the cat. Because, what life is complete without a little Kahlua and Cream? I love arts and crafts of all kinds, and I refinish furniture as well. We are slowly redoing our entire house. You can read about my projects on my blog

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2 comments on “Christmas in the Tropics
  1. i felt the same way about getting a fake tree at first – that it wouldn’t be the same, and would take something away from christmas. but then i saw a crazy awesomely tacky one at Target on super sale (75% off) – it’s covered in fake snow, pinecones, fake red berries, etc. – it’s quite campy. and i LOVE it. the bizarrness of it makes me feel all cozy inside – it’s a misfit tree to display all my misfit ornaments (a lot of which were throw-aways from other people that i rescued).

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Christmas in the Tropics"
  1. […] the last two weeks, I have written about my Christmas tree. Here are my posts about assembling the tree and decorating it. This was the finished […]

  2. […] from fresh greenery, but I did not get the chance to make any this year. I was lucky to get the tree put up. Douglas did help me decorate it one night last week. Here is the tree with all of the […]

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