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Dec. 17 2012

A Different Kind Of Theme Tree

By Dyana Neal | Posted in Host Blogs | 2 Comments

By some people’s standards, Jim and I don’t do a lot of decorating for Christmas. We’ve been in our house for eleven years and have yet to put holiday lights on the outside of the house, although we do hang a wreath on the front door. Inside, we have a few seasonal knick-knacks that we set out, including a vintage-reproduction ceramic Christmas tree -yes, it lights up! – and some of the most non-traditional nutcrackers (French maid, knight in shining armor, etc.) that you’ll ever set eyes on. We do, however, go all-out in one regard: the Christmas tree, which is so loaded with ornaments that I sometimes wonder if it will sink through the floor and land in the basement.

I’ve been collecting ornaments since my early teens and, with Jim’s help (and patience, ha) have amassed a stash that reflects our interests and passions – music, cats, food, fashion, working out, antiques, and travel. We’ve even managed to find a number of ornaments shaped like vintage radios!

Xmas tree - radio, uff da, etc.

This past weekend, we were discussing holiday traditions with a new friend, who, upon hearing about ourĀ  odd collection of ornaments, said “A theme tree!” I’d never thought of it that way. “Theme tree”, to me, always referred to a pine on which the ornaments are all one color, often even the same shape – hardly my style (or Jim’s, for that matter.)

Xmas tree - Mele K wreath, running shoe, etc.

After a moment, however, I realized that our friend had described our tree perfectly. It IS a theme tree, and the theme is our life together.

What are your holiday traditions, decorating or otherwise?



Dyana Neal


Dyana is WBJC's midday host. Her full bio can be read here.

2 Responses to A Different Kind Of Theme Tree

  • Reed Hessler
    Reed Hessler says:

    I moved in with Dyane Fancey in 1981, four years before we were married. That first year, we got a live Christmas tree, my first since I had lived with my parents (and they had used an artificial tree for many years). We had a tree decorating party, and many of our friends gave us ornaments. It was great fun, although I usually had to rearrange the ornaments later, since you couldn’t see most of them in the haphazard manner they were hung. After a few years, we stopped asking for ornaments, we had so many. Probably three hundred or more, between those from our friends, the ones we bought ourselves over the years, and the ones we inherited from our families (my wife has ornate Christmas tree balls dating back to the 1930’s, and we both have an ornament from our first Christmas trees when we were one year old). Needless to say, we treasure them all, and the memories associated with them. Among them, a “Citizen Kane” Rosebud sled, a grand piano, a standing cat dressed in a school uniform holding a model ship, a tiny glass ship we bought at “The Christmas Shop” in Manteo on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (which I stepped on and broke around 1990, when our cat knocked over the oversized tree, but I bought an identical ship at the same shop the following year!), I could go on and on. This year we had another tree decorating party, and most of our guests were visual artists (painters and sculptors), who decorated the tree perfectly. All of the ornaments were visible. None dangled over the others. I felt like sending them thank you notes for doing our Christmas decorating for us. And we always hang some “safe” ornaments on the lower branches for the cat to attack.

  • Dyana Neal
    Dyana Neal says:

    Haha, Reed, we also have “cat-safe” ornaments on the lower branches! Your collection sounds amazing.

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