Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Traditions: Straw Stars

These straw stars are older than I am. I am fuzzy on all the exact details of their history, but I know they were handmade in Germany, either by a relative or a very close friend of the family. I am not certain if my mother brought them with her when she moved to the U.S., or if they were a gift sent to her after she had already settled. I may not know the nitty gritty details of their provenance, but I know the important basics: they are handmade, they are from Germany, and they are treasured heirlooms.

These fragile stars hung on my family's Christmas tree for as far back as I can remember. They were much revered. Only my mother could handle them, never trusting my sisters and me to hang them for her. We had probably 40 of them. The tree was not complete until the stars were hung. They were the unifying element to an eclectic collection of ornaments. We never used tinsel or garland or bows. We had the stars.

My mom stopped putting up a tree a few years ago. Last summer, when I went to visit, we had Christmas in July. All the ornaments were laid out for my sisters and me to go through and select for ourselves. We divided the stars evenly among us. We each got a fair share of stars that are still in pretty good shape, along with a share of those that are showing some wear and tear.

I did get a little bit greedy about the packaging though. I insisted on having the ancient school book cover that the stars have been stored in all these years. I couldn't bear the thought of not having it!

Everything I love, right there. German words, a toadstool, a pointy hat, a school room setting out in the woods, anthropomorphized critters... I think that is an Ida Bohatta drawing, although I cannot verify that.

The straw star ornaments have influenced my other choices in Christmas decorations. I didn't do this purposely, but I noticed it this year as we decorated. Check out the tree topper

and the window light.



Anne said...

Oh, those are so beautiful. Where did you get the window light? Have you ever tried to make straw stars...I saw a kit somewhere...

besomom said...

Anne, I can't remember where exactly I bought the window light. I think it was through Signals catalog, but it's been 5 or 6 years now. It's called a Swedish Window Light, and I did just find this place that has a large selection of them:

We hang ours all winter.

I've never tried to make straw stars. A kit would be useful, as I wouldn't have any idea how to begin!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful! They look so delicate, it's a wonder they are in such good shape.

They remind me of the knotted crosses we fold up on Palm Sunday, just dried palm leaves. I would love to find out how to make straw stars.

Anyway, they look lovely on your tree!

PiaTillys Boutique said...

Oohh, those are beautiful! and I would of fought for that old schoolbook cover too...VERY cool! :)


Glenda said...

It's all so pretty, but I especially love the window light.