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06 Jan

Having tinsel on our Christmas tree has been a tradition since I can remember.  It was always the last decoration placed on the tree and the first taken off.  It had to be placed just so, one strand at a time or it didn’t look right.  It took time, but when the final strand was placed, it was a work of art.  It added sparkle, filled in empty spots created by irregularly shaped branches and different sized ornaments, captured and displayed the color of lights adorning the tree, and gently moved with circulating air currents. 

I never knew the story, though, behind the tradition of tinsel and the Christmas tree so I turned to the Internet.  I discovered that there are  several variations of the legend, but they all involve a spider, small and insignificant as they seem, and a pine tree.  Some say the legend originated in the Ukraine, while others claim Germany and even Australia.  

The story basically is about a widow who lived in a small hut where a pinecone dropped on the floor and took root.  She and her children excitedly watched the tree grow, anticipating how they would decorate it at Christmastime.  Because they were very poor, they went to bed on Christmas Eve without any decorations on the tree at all.  While they slept, spiders came out from their hiding places and climbed over every branch and twig of the tree, leaving their trail of webs everywhere.

When Father Christmas arrived that night, he was amused to see the tree covered in webs.  But he knew the family would be disappointed to see their beautiful tree wrapped only in a web of gray.  So he turned all the webs into beautiful shimmering silver strands.  When the family awoke and saw their tree sparkling and glittering, their delight was unsurpassed.  Only the mother knew that a true Christmas miracle had occurred overnight.  ( 

Now I know it’s old fashioned and I doubt many still use tinsel, but I got to thinking as I was removing it from our tree yesterday.  No matter what spiders we may have in our life covering us with webs, nor how small and insignificant we feel we are, if we each remembered to ‘put our tinsel on’ every morning, we too might just sparkle, fill in emptiness, reflect light and gently move amidst a world of strife.  

Got your tinsel on yet?


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Gramma Golden

Gramma Golden