Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches! Who doesn’t love seeing a magical and luminous tree covered in beautiful decorations? Christmas trees have been a tradition among my family for years, as they have for many others. And now, I’m excited to start a tree tradition at the Nome schoolhouse. But as you might imagine, our tree will be a bit unique!
As part of our commitment to sustainability and the fiber arts, our Christmas tree will be covered in felted decorations! I may be biased, but I simply find handcrafted ornaments so much more attractive than store-bought plastic ones. Plus, it gives us a chance to show off the incredible creativity cultivated here at the Nome schoolhouse.
Also, many classic Christmas tree decorations, such as tinsel and, are not very environmentally friendly. Needle felted ornaments last for years, and if you use wool from Bear Creek felting, they are made from sustainable materials. Plus, they give a warm and friendly look to any Christmas tree, no matter your aesthetic.
You can adorn your branches with felted woodland creatures, teddy bears, stars or bells, or snowflakes and snowmen. (The last one is one of my personal favorites!) and if you’re into knitting, you can deck your tree with adorable little stockings and knit caps! (Here’s some Christmas wool with the perfect colors.)
Trees and other greenery have long been a part of wintertime celebrations. Thousands of years ago, ancient Pagan celebrations incorporated evergreen boughs and trees as symbols of eternity, renewal, and warmth during bitter winters. As Christianity emerged, the tradition continued. Early Christians in 16th-century Germany began adding candles to evergreen trees. And so the classic sight of a fully illuminated evergreen tree became a fixture of Christmas symbolism.
Nowadays, we have artificial Christmas trees and electric lights, which means you can enjoy your Christmas tree with less of a fire hazard! But even with those modern inventions, a Christmas tree is a magical sight — one that calls upon an ancient need for warmth and community during the winter season. That’s what we aim to cultivate with the gorgeous new tree we’re putting up at the Nome Schoolhouse. It will be covered with deer, teddies, sheep, bunnies, and yes, even gnomes!
To me, the most magical thing about Christmas trees is that you can customize them however you like. And what better way to show off your family’s creativity and culture than to decorate your tree with ornaments you made yourselves?
I invite you to craft some unique decorations for your tree this year. Whether you like snowmen and other classic Christmas characters or ancient symbols such as starbursts and fruits, here’s a handy wool sampler to get started.