A Very International Christmas Tree

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

The Travel Edits Christmas tree is not colour coordinated. It does not showcase a perfect display of tiered bows. Or strategically placed  baubles. Or vertically strung lights. It is more interesting than that.

The Travel Edits tree is a jumble of bells, cones, cats, gingerbread men, angels and even eggs. There is method in the apparent madness though.

This tree tells a story of distant lands and far off places.

Let me deconstruct it for you…

Painted eggs: Budapest

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Yep, I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t eggs usually more of an Easter thing? Not so in Hungary. These carved green and red wooden eggs are heavier than they look so are always placed on the thicker branches near the base of the tree. I picked them up circa 2008  in the Old Town in the Buda side of Budapest. Staying in the grey, industrial looking Pest it was my first glimpse of the ‘pretty’ side of the city.

Snowflakes, hearts, stars and gingerbread men: Reykjavik

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Nowhere does Christmas quite like Scandinavia and Iceland is no exception. Although they didn’t quite make up for missing out on the  elusive Northern Lights, I couldn’t leave Reykjavik last year without bringing these back as a memento.

Cat,  angel 1, turkey, angel 2 : Copenhagen

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Picked up these guys on two separate trips to Copenhagen – one in 2006 (the trip that launched my travel writing career) and the others in December 2008. The delicate paper turkey dates back to the first trip. I found the cute Bagpuss-like cat and the two angels in the beautiful night time Christmas market in the city’s Tivoli Gardens. If you’ve never been, go! Seriously. It’s pure magic.

Love-heart cones: Sweden (well…)

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Cheating a bit with this one – they’re actually from IKEA! The last time I visited Stockholm it was August 2008 so Christmas decorations were few and far between.  Anyway – all the other Scandinavian ornaments more than compensate and don’t they fit in so well?!

Painted trees: Berlin

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

There are two versions of this tree – red with white ‘icing’ and white with red ‘icing’. Got these in Berlin, the same day as I saw a very sad looking  Knut the polar bear in Berlin Zoo.  Unfortunately he’s no longer with us but these trees bring back nice memories of  Berlin’s giant pretzels, cheap beers and breaking out the old reliable “Wie komme ich am besten zum Bahnhof, bitte?”.

 Ceramic Friends: Merida, Mexico

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

Possibly the most exotic members of the international Christmas tree crew are the cat, the snowman and the sombrero dude.  The three amigos trekked here all the way from Mexico in a rucksack. Believe it or not, they were on sale in the Yucatan city of Merida in the month of July 2010.  Possibly the most unusual souvenir of a day spent at a totally tropical cenote and sisal plantation.

Jingle Bells: Lisbon

Travel Edits | A Very International Christmas Tree

These are the newest addition to the tree and come from one of my favourite cities, Lisbon. Even though it was 18C in November, the Portuguese capital was getting into the festive spirit with roasted chestnuts on the street and a newly opened  Christmas shop on the Chiado. Who could resist?! And they jingle.

Although it’s something of an homage to the United Nations at the moment, the tree is by no means full – just as well there are plenty more branches to be filled by plenty more places in 2013…



  1. 30th December 2012 / 11:18 am

    Thanks Raul, will certainly do my best!

  2. 30th December 2012 / 4:24 pm

    I love this, Fiona! I always forget to get ornaments along my travels, and each Christmas I regret it. I got a lot of fun travel-related ornaments this year, though, so my tree next year should be a bit better. And, maybe in 2013, I can remember to pick some up along the way.

  3. 30th December 2012 / 4:42 pm

    Thanks Erin. Yes, they make great souvenirs and the best thing is they’re small and you can store them away for the year and then remember your travels all over again.

  4. 31st December 2012 / 5:55 pm

    fantastic. it is wonderful to collect ornaments from around the world… my tree has many, perhaps i shall break it down one day too…

    and of course, i was excited to see mexico make it… and do send me your address, I must send you an ornament from the states, specifically nyc for next year.

    happy christmas! Craig

  5. 31st December 2012 / 6:20 pm

    loove this! we tried so hard to find ornaments to bring home from switzerland, but everything was so delicate that i didn’t trust myself. your collection is adorable!

  6. 1st January 2013 / 1:14 am

    What a brilliant idea. I love the travel oriented Christmas ornaments. A great souvenir to have for all of your favorite travel places.

  7. 1st January 2013 / 7:20 pm

    LOVE this. i have many Christmas ornaments from my travels too. i always look forward to dreaming of the trips when i decorate my tree every year. can you believe i didn’t buy ONE single ornament in my month in Europe. shame on me!!

  8. 2nd January 2013 / 12:31 am

    I love this! It’s such a great way to remember your travels and a perfect thing to take home from trips.

  9. 2nd January 2013 / 11:55 am

    I love this idea.. I have started including some special decorations myself.. in mine!

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