Art and Culture Parenting Poetry

The Fairy and The Bauble

Written by Kirstie Pelling

A Video Christmas Tree Poem

Kirstie Profile Small Putting up the Christmas tree is one of those annual rituals. I don’t know about you, but in our house the ritual is always changing. When Stuart and I were first married it was about togetherness and sealing the deal of our first Christmas in our London home. When the kids were little it was about keeping sticky toddler hands away from the glittering mass. These days it’s about cajoling teenagers away from Minecraft to join in the fun. It’s always different and reflects the changing nature of family. But there’s one constant in dressing the tree; the old green bauble…

Putting the Angel on Christmas Tree

While I put the angel on my tree, my very own fairy looks on

The old green bauble

As we put up the Christmas tree this weekend, my daughter was drawn to the old green bauble. And to its story. Every year we buy one new bauble for the tree. But this one harks back to the days before we had kids. It may even have been passed down through the family. While other baubles have dropped and smashed, this one has hung around; an undecorated and slightly too large piece of coloured glass that’s always left in the box to the end. But instead of hiding it away around the back like I usually do, this year Hannah put it front and centre. And it got me thinking. About all that this bauble has seen. If you looked in its reflection over the years, you’d see baby Matthew throwing up over the presents on his first Christmas. You’d see Christmas dinners being overcooked and undereaten. You’d see chaotic family viewings of Nativity and The Queen with popcorn flying, drinks spilled and crisps crunched into the carpet. You’d see the relief on our faces when the overexcited little people finally went to bed and we settled down with a box of Thornton’s and a bottle of wine.

Christmas Baubles on Christmas Tree

The old green bauble has a tale or two to tell of Christmas past

Perfect imperfection

This bauble has soaked up years of imperfect Christmas days. Yet to me it reflects back perfection. Every one of those days are their own bubble of perfection. A happy, dysfunctional, noisy family, unwrapped and untamed. This year for the first time it will reflect the teenage years, with all the joy and tears that may bring. It will reflect a little girl in her party dress, admiring her new favourite trinket on the tree.

Christmas Baubles on Christmas Tree

Is there any such thing as a perfect Christmas?

Seasonal reflections

And maybe one day when she’s putting up the tree with her kids, Hannah will dig out the old green bauble and see my face in its reflection. And remember the perfect, imperfect Christmas Day we are about to have. And maybe she’ll remember me? So watch our video poem. It’s the story of this old green bauble, and perhaps the story of all families as they grow, grow apart, grow old and look back on their yuletide rituals. Seasons greetings from us all.

The fairy and the bauble

Her childish hand encircles
an old green bauble
eyes bright as the angel
we stand beneath
my little fairy
hangs it with care
onto an artificial tree
that weaves
glitter and Santa
into Christmas Eve

we all believe in elves
and toast a fat man
who scoffs mince pies
and drains the sherry
from a glass we leave half filled with hope

was it just last night
that brought us to
this perfect day
of unwrapped presents
uneaten food
a glimmer of truce between
brother and sister
that grows and glows
I cup it in my hand

fragile as glass
precious as a bauble
I hold it close
knowing it won’t last
with a tinsel flutter
my fairy will fly
into Christmas past
where presents lose this sparkle
and memories fade

until one winters’ day
when she unwraps
an old green bauble
and goes tumbling
back to an artificial tree
to a perfect day
and me.

Wishing Tree, Christmas Shop, Akureyri, Iceland

Wishing Tree, Christmas Shop, Akureyri, Iceland

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


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