Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Decorations in our Sylwester Home

Our Sylwester family saved money every Christmas season by not buying a big conifer Christmas tree. Our main Christmas tree was a deciduous tree -- the size of a normal Christmas tree. I understood that my Dad would cut one down near Plum Creek, but I never saw him do it. Since he got the tree in December, all the leaves had fallen off by the time we brought it into our home. I called these trees "branch trees".

We did buy a conifer tree too, but only a very small one, typically only about three feet tall. We decorated this smaller tree with normal lights and decorations.

We decorated our main, "branch tree" and our walls mainly with paper origami decorations. My Dad had studied and practiced origami since he was a boy, and so he was able to construct quite fancy decorations. These origami decorations hung and displayed better on our branch tree, with its open spaces.

All our family's children learned how to fold some simple ornaments, and so we too folded some of our decorations. We all knew how to fold, for example, diamonds and swans.


My parents photographed our origami decorations, but all those photographs are lost. Looking in the Internet today, I found the following photographs that remind me of the decorations that my Dad folded:


My Dad spent many hours folding these decorations every year. His annual masterpiece was a huge, multi-pointed, flat, gold star that he hung on a wall. He would splurge on buying a huge piece of gold paper for this star. I think he must have bought this paper in a stationery store in Lincoln -- maybe he even special-ordered the paper. He would spend a couple hours folding just this one star.

I thought I would be able to find a photograph of such an origami star in the Internet, but the closest I could find was the below photograph.

My Dad's star was always gold and had about twice as many rays, which were narrower and longer. The diameter was something like two feet. His star was quite spectacular, and he hung it on a wall where it would be seen immediately by anyone coming through our front door.

My Dad earned money by selling articles about crafts to magazines. The most profitable such articles explained how to make origami Christmas decorations. Every year he earned a couple hundred dollars by selling such an article to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The article would include drawings and photographs illustrating the instructions and the completed decoration. He had to submit the article to the magazine a couple months before the Christmas issue, so he completed many of our family's Christmas decorations in the early fall.

The money that Dad earned from Better Homes and Gardens paid essentially for all our holiday expenses -- for the children's Christmas presents and for going to watch a movie in a theater.


In 2009 I wrote an article in this blog about Christmas shopping in Seward and Lincoln and an article about the St John Christmas Eve service.

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