Anna Hergert, Art & Design

When the Pre-Christmas Blues Hit…

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…try to find an antidote. Getting over the jetlag is one thing… trying to get over missing out on the Christmas Markets in Germany is quite another! Our weather has changed and I am experiencing the sudden cold with a somewhat negative physical and emotional reaction. I suddenly felt really down and somewhat at loose ends this weekend. My sister did keep me very busy during my stay with her… Coming home to a quiet house there is only so much puppy cuddling one can engage in during the day.

I wasn’t sure if I would decorate much for Christmas this year. Last week I pulled out a few smaller items and candles and I was satisfied at first. When the blues hit quite hard on Saturday I decided to take the plunge and decorate the Christmas tree after all. It would be the first step to fighting the emotional low due to missing family and friends. It was also the earliest I have ever set up the tree!

Each year I wonder why I hold on to the fake Christmas tree, now 18 years old! We used to cut our own tree when Nicole was little. Once she was a teenager and no longer really interested in cutting a tree “in the wilderness with hot chocolate as a reward”, we would go and support one of the local charities in Calgary and pick out a tree from one of the lots in our neighbourhood. Eventually, we bought an artificial tree which makes just as much of a mess as the real trees used to contrary to popular belief! Why do I hold on to this tree? I will be honest, I really love the strong branches which easily accommodate some of the really heavy ornaments we own. Besides heavy glass ornaments, I still have the stars I made the first Christmas in my first apartment in Germany in 1978!

Anticipation grows with each assembly step… Yes, I set up the tree myself in a mindful state. I learned years ago that rushing this activity only generates unwelcome stress. The trunk is securely fitted into the tree stand, then I distribute the branches from the bottom up. Many years ago I learned that adding the lights with each layer of branches makes for a less frustrating experience. The metallic gold ribbon, which is actually two long strips of sequin waste, I found in a recycle shop during my Gustav Klimt research phase and “golden era”. It still adds great depth to the overall presentation and is so much nicer than the tinsel we grew up with!

As I unwrapped the many ornaments collected over the past 40+ years I once again prided myself in remembering where each came from, which Christmas market I discovered it at, who created the little mouse in a nutshell, who gifted me the two angels as a thank you for participating in their wedding, the newest glass ball I found at Villa Reuter in Maria Laach this year and the many Santa ornaments I have gifted to Colin over the years have been found near and far. These days we use small LED lights to illuminate the tree but I always add two dozen candles to complete “the look” and bring back fond childhood memories…

I think my self-imposed therapy is working… the sun is coming out as I type this blog post and the day is beginning to look a lot brighter despite the -32C windchill temperature.

Here are some of the images in a larger format:

The green glass ornament I found at Villa Reuter. It is my latest addition to the tree ornament collection.

Woven stars, created from special golden ribbon still adorn our tree. I made these in 1978. My dad had dropped off a Christmas tree for me, hoisted it over the hedge surrounding my apartment patio… I was overjoyed and didn’t even care about that one side of the tree had stunted branches. It fit perfectly into the corner of the living room. 😉

One of the angels a friend gifted me with after her wedding to say thank you.

The mouse in the walnut shell ornament… I am sure most of us have one version or another of this popular ornament on the Christmas tree. Nicole gifted me with it when she was in her early 20s… it seems so long ago!

This little angle was also from Nicole, she gave it to me when she was in Kindergarten! Every time I look at it I am reminded of how much the angel resembles her three-year-old son, Sebastian… just as blond and just as angelic without the cloud and wings! 😉

One of the newer Santa ornaments. I love it for its simplicity.

I will finish with this tiny, handpainted Indian madonna ornament. It is one of my favourite ornaments. I found it at a Fair Trade Christmas market. It only measures about one inch…

Thanks, everyone for indulging me in my walk down memory lane. I look forward to flicking the switch when it gets dark tonight to take in our tree in all its splendour! Stay warm and may the spirit of the season light the way!

This entry was published on December 9, 2019 at 2:57 pm. It’s filed under Art, Contemplative art practice, Creativity Update, Design, History, Journaling, Photography, Refocusing Creativity, Something to Smile About, Special Project and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “When the Pre-Christmas Blues Hit…

  1. Denise Kelly on said:

    I too, have been inspired by you Anna to pull out boxes that have been in storage for years! I have to say that I don’t even recognize some of them! Must’ve been more recent gifts, tucked away and now newly “discovered” ☺️
    All the best to you and your family, Anna!
    Wishing you a holiday 🎄 that brings everything you need 🙏🏻


    • Hi Denise, this is what this time of year is all about: let’s inspire each other to find what we “need” and aspire to! I have reached out to friends I have not seen in a while and invited them for lunch next week. Another friend, whose husband is working across the country, and her two teenage sons will join us for Christmas, weather permitting of course! This may turn out to be one of the better Advent and Christmas seasons in many years!
      May you have a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and peace.


  2. How beautiful Anna! You’ve inspired me yet again.

    We haven’t had a tree in 10 years, but now, seeing yours and your special ornaments, I’m reminded that we too have boxes of special memories that are worth pulling out once a year. (Except I think I’ll cut a little tree – it’s easier in our case.)

    I too have been feeling a bit blue, alone in my very quiet world. And I think you may have found an antidote. I hope you’re feeling better and that your Klimpt ribbon resonates deep in your soul. The very best to you and Colin.


    • Awww, thanks Helene! Every year I say I won’t set up the tree and each year I cave in… the only time we didn’t set up the tree was in 2014 because we spent Christmas in Germany with my sister and her family.
      Unwrapping the many ornaments and finding just the “right” spot on a branch on the tree lifted the blue “blanket” that had settled over me a few day’s earlier.
      I also have guests for lunch next Tuesday and Wednesday… that’ll bring me out of my funk for sure because I have to plan the lunch menus!🤗
      Send pictures of your tree when you have it all set up in your cozy home overlooking The Valley!!! Sending warm hugs your way.


  3. carolewles on said:

    Anna, I’m with you on this. It has been my tradition since I was a little girl when we had real trees, to put up the tree on my birthday. I think it will go up a bit earlier this year, but I was having second thoughts about even doing it, as life gets harder to manage with the mobility issues. I know I will reminisce as I unwrap the ornaments. My tree topper came from Germany with my Grandparents in the early 1900’s. I have a few special ornaments left from my childhood and lots that my children have gifted me over the years. I have a set of 6 ornaments from our first Christmas together 54 years ago and so many other special ones that remind me of other times. We will all get through another winter somehow. Keep Smiling.


  4. Denise Kelly on said:


    Liked by 1 person

  5. paulajolly on said:

    Oh Anna! A perfect way to deal with the blues! Your tree and ornaments are lovely. This will be our second Christmas away from home in our 47 year marriage. But we will be spending our Christmas in Sydney with our exchange student of many years ago. He has now married and has 2 children. We will also be with his whole family to celebrate! Thank You for sharing


  6. Katina on said:

    Oh dear. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make you feel better. Our November was one loss after another and I too had to decorate the house and shake myself into happiness. We too have an artificial tree newly purchased last year. It sits in a stand that rotates the tree and gives me much pleasure. Hugs my friend. Please be well.


    • Katina, I am so sorry to hear about your losses during November! I know, my personal state of mind does not compare to true heartbreak such as yours! My deepest sympathy to you and your family!
      I think the four weeks away, the super long day of travel home, lack of food on that day which threw me for a complete loop and then the cold and ice on the lake makes this December a little harder to take. I am confident that I will be fine. Thank you so much for caring! Warm hugs to you!


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