Tag Archives: Christmas Tree Candles

Travel Theme: Fragrant

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Fragrant.

It’s not even Thanksgiving, but the first Christmas decorations have already made their appearance in NYC store windows, so it’s not too early for this post…

No plastic Christmas trees for us. We always have a real tree. Plastic trees can look pretty, but lack an essential element of Christmas—the fragrance of a real tree, especially when that fragrance is released by the heat of real candles…

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More photos from Christmas 2011 are here, and from Christmas 2012 here. Looking forward to Christmas 2013!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Illumination.

Christmas 2011—

In bright light, the Christmas tree looks pretty enough… but somehow still awaiting its true moment.

Candlelight works its magic. The whole tree glows with a soft radiance. The light picks out the glitter of ornaments from the pools of darkness deep among the branches. The candles burn silently, yet flicker perceptibly from moment to moment. The rising air sets strands of tinsel subtly in motion, shimmering in the light. The tree is alive.

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More photos from Christmas 2011 are here, and from Christmas 2012 here.

Christmas Lights

By Vladimir Brezina

We always get our Christmas tree only a day or two before Christmas, barely hours before the Christmas-tree vendors in the streets pack up for their migration back north. We do this not just because we procrastinate (we do), but because Johna follows an older tradition. According to Wikipedia,

Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, in the traditions celebrating Christmas Eve rather than on the first of day of Christmas, 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck.

So, even as our neighbors’ Christmas trees are already out in the street for removal, our tree is only now reaching the peak of its transient glory—

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Christmas Tree Light, The Old-Fashioned Way

By Vladimir Brezina

At this season, there are Christmas trees everywhere you look in the city, in stores, banks, apartment building lobbies. Most are only superficially decorated, standing under bright lights which reveal all there is to see at one glance, mere abstractions of the idea of the Christmas tree…

To me, a proper Christmas tree should be large, dark, mysterious, and excessive, full of possibilities. No doubt this is some Proustian attempt to recapture the Christmas trees of my childhood. I remember that Christmas trees were so much bigger then, with spreading branches that allowed glimpses into the dark interior where all kinds of ornaments glinted in the soft candlelight. (Many of the ornaments were wrapped candies that I hunted for in the days after Christmas…)

So, now that I have to be my own Santa Claus, a few rules: No artificial trees—it has to be a fragrant, real tree. As large as possible. Richly decorated. And above all, lit not by artificial Christmas lights, but by the unique, unmistakable glow of real candles!

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