Olivia arranging the lights so
they are easier to string on the tree.
Gradually, through the years, the strings of lights no longer worked leaving about 100-200 lights last year. It's not too many lights for a Christmas tree.
So, this year I bought three strands of lights that hopefully will last many years. The girls were very excited to have lights for the tree, and helped lay them out so they were easier to put on the tree.
Sophia took the lead this year and put the lights on the tree. Standing on the piano bench, she could reach to the top of the tree. Easily.
Sophia putting the lights on the tree.
(There are 900 lights on the tree this year.)
Sophia and Olivia went through the boxes of ornaments and picked out ones they liked and/or absolutely had to go on the tree.
It was interesting to watch which ornaments had special meaning for them and were important for them to have a prominent spot on the tree (not the back side of the tree facing the window where only the birds can see them).
Olivia making sure there are ornaments
all around the tree...not just on the front.
Midway into decorating, the girls suggested putting down the blinds and turning off the lights so that they could finish decorating by the Christmas tree lights only.
Sophia putting an ornament on the tree.
She made the blue and white felt ornament last year.
The last ornaments to go on the tree were ones that hold special significance to us all: ones purchased in China when the girls were adopted. The two main types from China are the clonaise ones that are handmade and in the shapes of balls or a Santa; and the jade and red tassel ones.
Decorated Christmas tree.
According to a website about Chinese culture, "The Chinese love jade because of not only its beauty, but also more importantly its culture, meaning and humanity. As Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC) said there are 11 De (virtue) in jade.
"The following is the translation: 'The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them,
- its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity;
- its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence;
- its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice;
- the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music.
- Its color represents loyalty;
- its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity;
- its iridescent brightness represents heaven;
- its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth.
- Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity.
- The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth.
"To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: 'When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."'
That probably explains why jade jewelry and sculptures were all over China. There wasn't a place - it seemed - that didn't have at least one jade item in it.
Tree with the room lights turned off
so only the lights on the tree shine.