Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?

Jim Dixon 07 Dec 10 - 05:27 PM
Reinhard 07 Dec 10 - 06:03 PM
Rumncoke 07 Dec 10 - 06:36 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Dec 10 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,simply purple 08 Dec 10 - 02:04 AM
GUEST,glueman 08 Dec 10 - 03:15 AM
VirginiaTam 08 Dec 10 - 03:18 AM
Seamus Kennedy 08 Dec 10 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,glueman 08 Dec 10 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Dec 10 - 04:07 AM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Dec 10 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Sue Jones 08 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM
Monique 08 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM
Liz the Squeak 08 Dec 10 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Celtaddict 08 Dec 10 - 09:18 AM
Liz the Squeak 08 Dec 10 - 10:47 AM
Donuel 08 Dec 10 - 11:06 AM
Dan Schatz 08 Dec 10 - 12:50 PM
ClaireBear 08 Dec 10 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,999 08 Dec 10 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,999 08 Dec 10 - 02:17 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 05:27 PM

I'm somewhat mystified by the Christmas song, which seems to be fairly well known in Britain, called THE FAIRY ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE. I assume it refers to the ornament at the very top of the tree. In the US, this would always (I think) be called an angel, not a fairy—unless it's something totally different, like a star.

What do fairies have to do with Christmas, anyway?

So, please tell me, what are your earliest memories of what sort of thing was put at the top of your Christmas tree? If it was a winged figure, were the wings birdlike, or butterfly-like, or ambiguous, or what? Did it have a halo? Did it have any distinguishing characteristics that would clearly identify it as either an angel or a fairy? What did you call it? How was its significance explained to you?

In my own childhood (in the US), we had a star, which I understood to represent the Star of Bethlehem. At some point I became aware that some other people's trees had an angel, which represented the angel that announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. In either case, it seemed appropriate for such an ornament to be at the very top of the tree, because either a star or an angel would naturally be seen in the sky (or so we were told).

And please don't forget to tell me where you are. Phrases like "over here" don't help very much.

If you can provide links to pictures, that would be a bonus.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Reinhard
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 06:03 PM

Over here ;-) (I'm German) in my childhood there always was a star on top of the Christmas tree.

The fairy seems to be an English tradition as can been seen in Fairy on the Tree:

"What will top your tree this year? Will you opt for an English traditional fairy, a continental angel, or play safe and affix a star?

Nowadays, it seems almost impossible to buy a tree-topper fairy doll - Christmas stores are full of angels. Where have the wand-waving fairies disappeared too? Fifty years ago, it was a different story. Christmas trees, their pine fragrance filling the living rooms, would invariably have a fairy doll sitting proudly on top of the tree. Sometimes, the fairy would be wrapped away on Twelfth Night, to be brought out again for the next Christmas, but often she would be given to a little girl, who would treasure the doll till her wings fell off and her paper skirt crumbled."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 06:36 PM

I was brought up in Yorkshire - we had a decrepit old artificial tree made from feathers dyed green tied onto metal rods.

It was always topped with a long glass ornament, a sphere with an indented starlike design and a long spike. There was a funnel shape on the lower side of the globe into which the topmost part of the tree was inserted. As that was metal, over the years holes had been punched through the ornament so each year it was carefully positioned to present the best face to the room.

Possibly as a reaction to that I always buy the largest live tree I can get into the car and put a big silver star on top.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 10:05 PM

Rumncoke: I've seen ornaments like the one you describe in the US, too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,simply purple
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 02:04 AM

I was brought up in Staffordshire, England of Scottish parents - we always had a fairy at the top of our tree. We have had 3 during my lifetime and I still have them all. Each one was dressed in white and had tinsel around the head (halo?) but the all had small wings and a wand. I think a a really small child I always thought of them as angels, but called them fairies because that's what everyone called them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 03:15 AM

Good topic. Those pointy glass ornaments with an indentation are a stylised star, IMO. They're a kind of glass finial, the sharp bit found on the top of house gables, sign posts and so on whose job was to stop rain water getting in and ruining the wood and became more decorative over time.

When glass ornaments were all the rage for Christmas tree decoration it would have been difficult to create a pointed star and a spike with a fluted bowl was the next best thing.
The fairy must be a derivation of an angel, surely? Maybe from a time when overtly religious icons were deemed improper. We have a large, gold papier mache star my wife made almost twenty years ago before we had kids and indulged in huge real Christmas trees. It looks rather top heavy on the more utilitarian artificial tree we've had lately but she's threatening to go back to a natural tree this year so maybe it'll gain its rightful proportion.

Incidentally, I looked for the kind of traditional glass ornaments my parents had on their tree and they're astonishingly expensive nowadays, presumably because any that have lasted since since the 1930s are intrinsically valuable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 03:18 AM

in childhood always a real tree

early childhood had a plastic moulded lighted angel on tree top

like this but the wings were down not up

Totally magical to me.

Angel replaced at sometime by
one of these but turquoise

big multicoloured lights, loads of retro glass ornaments so popular between the 50s and 70s.

And dripping with icicles = lameta in the UK

Wish I could get that magic back.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 03:22 AM

OK - just this once:

The Angel and the Christmas Tree
(Melody: All I want for Christmas is a Beatle)
Seamus Kennedy © 2008

The story of how the angel came to be on the top of the Christmas tree.


Now, Christmas is a time to be so happy,

But at Santa's the elves were going on strike,

Mrs. Claus had burned the cookies, there was no Christmas tree,

And that's something Santa really doesn't like.


And all of Santa's reindeer had been drinking,
They got hammered really early in the day.
They decided on a whim, to go out for a spin
But they crashed into a pole, and wrecked the sleigh…

"I've got to fly around the world" yelled Santa,
"Bringing gifts to every little girl and boy
What am I to do? The kids will all be blue,
I don't know if each one will get a toy…

"Oh, nothing's going right today," cried Santa.
The toys aren't even in the bloomin' sack.
And I sent that little angel out to find a Christmas tree,
I wonder if she's ever coming back?"

He was getting really angry now, was Santa,
When the little angel burst in, full of glee.
He just glared at her, with her scrawny Douglas fir,
As she said "Santa, where should I stick your tree?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 03:25 AM

"Wish I could get that magic back"

It was indeed magic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:07 AM

We have an angel on top of our tree (which doesn't go up until Xmas Eve) which makes me wonder how many real angels could dance on the top of an Xmas tree...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:52 AM

Would that mean more or fewer than on top of a pin, as in Mathematics, all infinities, are equal, but some are larger then others ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,Sue Jones
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM

In my childhood, in Cheshire, we always had a fairy on top of the tree. My husband from Lancashire had a star. Stars, angels and fairies all seem to be an acceptable topper. One year we ended up with 3 trees, as my mum decided to buy a realistic artificial one, because of the needle shedding problem. My dad and I, independently, decided that it wouldn't be the same without a real one!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Monique
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM

In France we had and usually still have a star at the top of the tree. When I was a child we had this type of garlands and Christmas balls, which doesn't mean nothing else was available but I have no idea of what it was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 06:08 AM

In childhood, in deepest, darkest Dorset, it was my sister's first ever articulated 'baby doll' - a little bakelite plastic thing in an unrealistic shade that they like to call 'flesh' (if you were an apricot maybe). She's dressed in a fairy costume made by our grandmother from what could have been her wedding dress (a heavy silk, turned ivory with age) with wings of the same, all trimmed with a delicate edge of silver tinsel. She has a matchstick wand with tinsel 'star' that always had to be re-sticky taped to her arm every year. She has string around her middle under the skirt and she's tied to the top of the tree, whether a real one or an artificial one. Her legs dropped off about every 3 years or so, but she was always on the tree until the mid to late '70's when she was replaced by a nasty silver winged cone with a plastic doll's head which had fuzzy, custard yellow hair. I hated her with a passion and she mysteriously 'disappeared' in 1980. When my mother emigrated in 1998, I acquired her decorations and have the old fairy doll still, waiting for me to reattach her legs and put her in her rightful place.

Since leaving home in 1982, my tree has always had a star, usually home made for that year in various materials.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,Celtaddict
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 09:18 AM

When I was growing up in Oklahoma, we always had a lighted star, and everyone else I knew well enough to see their trees seemed to have stars. My mother collected angels with lyres and when I was a younger adult, I gave her one made to be a tree-topper: porcelain head and hands, dark long hair, robes of silky fabric. Since I left home (in California, Iceland, and the past decades Connecticut), I have always had an angel, of various types, but since my mother died it has been her angel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 10:47 AM

I must admit to liking the mid-east European tree toppers - like an offshoot of St Basil's in Moscow, a decorated onion top shape in glass or crystal, in rainbows of red, green, blue, gold and silver. Trouble is, I can never find one small enough for the average household tree.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 11:06 AM

At the tree top I put a small figure of Jesus Christ that was made for the movie Dogma. In one hand I placed an actual complete miniature bible. While the face on the figure is smiling broadly, in the other crucified hand he is doing a thumbs up gesture.

I also have all chrome christmas figures attending baby Jesus in the manger. While I have the parents, all the donkeys, wise men and camels the baby JEsus is missing so I replaced him with a tiny muppet figure named Beaker who has a great surprised/scared look on his face.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 12:50 PM

Here in Pennsylvania we have a star made from dried flowers, nut husks, and leaves. I don't know how long it will last, but we've had it for the past few years, since getting it from the Brandywine River Museum's annual "critter" sale of Christmas ornaments made from found natural objects. I don't see a picture of one like our star, but you get the idea. I love these little ornaments.

When I was a kid, my father and stepmother didn't have a tree topper, so for several years he used a bowler hat.

Dan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: ClaireBear
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 01:43 PM

We always had a star until recently. But now that I have a wonderfl, life-sized black raven hand puppet, he goes atop the tree and I dangle a pressed-tin sun ornament from his beak, so he can be Raven Stealing the Sun.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 02:12 PM

How the angel came to adorn the top of the Christmas tree.



When four of Santa´s elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones, Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More stress.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground, scattering the toys.

So, frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered that the elves had hidden the liquor, and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider pot, and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw end of the broom.

Just then, the doorbell rang, and irritable Santa trudged to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said, very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas Santa. Isn´t it a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to put it?"


And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What's on top of your Christmas tree?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 02:17 PM

Found it on the www. It`s an oldie but goodie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 July 11:24 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.