Saturday, December 29, 2007

O Christmas Tree

This year, we didn't have a Christmas tree for several reasons - our lack of a Christmas tree stand and ornaments and our inability to effectively transport a large tree without a car amoung them (but not, it should be noted, due to any feelings of moral obligation to try to end the yearly slaughter of young pine trees -- we fully support the slaugter of both plants and animals for our consumption, comfort, and for decorative purposes).

Instead of a tree, this year our one decoration was a "creche animee". It's a little wooden ornament with candles near the base of it. The heat from the lit candles causes hot air to rise from them, and this hot air propels the fan blades at the top of the ornament. The little people who rotate around the stem are various wise men and shepherds and some angels with trumpets, and a man and woman with a little baby. According to the note that came with our creche, these ornaments were originally made in Germany and Bohemia in the 17th century, in the deep depths of the forests where there were also quite a copper mining industry. During the long winter nights, the miners and their families would keep themselves entertained by making little wooden figures and toys, and this is where the creches originated.