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
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
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
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…)
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
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
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
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…