By Mrs Gordon- Stables.
I DO not know whether our youngsters have grown more sophisticated, or whether the gorgeous bazaars that now make their appearance in all our large centres have served to develop their demands, but whatever may be the reason, the simple type of Christmas-tree, in which presents and candles, frosted leaves and silver garlands are mingled in a haphazard sort of fashion, no longer rouses them to the pitch of enthusiasm that is inspired when some sort of concerted plan of action is carried out in the tree's adornment...
There are many ways, involving but small expense, in which materfamihas can confer on her tree some definite form of decoration. The first and simplest is by the adoption of some colour scheme. By choosing for the wrapping of the presents a combination of coloured papers in place of the usual brown and whitey-brown covers, she will at once achieve a gaiety quite incommensurate with the outlay involved. One such tree I have seen developed in mauve and turquoise-blue with great effect. Not alone were the presents wrapped in these colours, but the streamers and air-balloons, the little candles and the glass-balls were chosen exclusively of these tints. So,too, were the crackers and the frocks of the dolls dangling from the branches.
A Zoo Christmas-tree makes a novel form of this perennial institution. Each present hung thereon is of the animal tribe, and not until you come to buy the toys do you realise what an immense amount of scope this idea provides. For the more ambitious gifts there will be Teddy bears and Bunny rabbits, and the new stuffed marmosets with the life-like faces and white palms to their dark and hairy hands —queer pets that seem to make a peculiar appeal to the childish heart. And for those who have to consider expense (and no one can call these animals low-priced !) there is STITCHERY No. 45, the Toy number, with directions for making quaint animals innumerable at a very little cost. For others there will be little birds—parrots and canaries, bullfinches and love birds—in china, excellent examples of which will be found at prices rising from a shilling or two, in any of the china departments of our large stores. For quite the tiny tots will be provided those uncannily deceptive insects and moths that, propelled by a cutely contrived wheel hidden beneath their body, " drag their slow length along" the carpet, after a short preliminary winding. Should the entire tree be lighted from the ceiling by a bulb concealed within one of those clever shades of wire stetched to the shape of an owl, and covered in painted silk to simulate the feathers, so much the more entertaining will be the effect...
(Click below for Chinese and Fruit Themed 1919 trees...)
A Chinese Tree.
A quite beautiful effect is to be achieved by designing the trimmings of your tree on Chinese lines. Chinese lanterns, either hung on the tree itself or suspended across the walls of the room, will look festive, and will accord well with the Chinese garb of the dolls
that form the central attraction of every well-conducted Christmas - tree. A top will sit an impressive mandarin dressed in a robe on which dragons and cabalistic signs have been painted in gold. Below and around him will be members of his court, garbed likewise in coats with wide sleeves and straight long fronts (very simple to contrive and to trim, these), and strewn up and down will be all manner of Chinese oddments culled from the Oriental departments of the shops, and including little bits of Chinese pottery for the older girls, bags trimmed with Chinese embroideries for their mothers, and for the small fry little boxes of Chinese puzzles, Chinese dolls, furniture and other trifles such as can be secured just now at very modest prices. Of course, you will take care to provide yourself with several packets of Chinese joss-sticks and scented pastilles so that the appropriate atmosphere is engendered.
A Fruit Tree.
In developing the idea of fruit for the Qhristmas-tree, it would, of course, be foolish to be unduly exclusive. All sorts' of fruit must flourish on it, from real live'oranges and apples to soap
imitations of the same; from the real thing in Messina lemons to big bunches of grapes and cherries that are actually only so many boiled sweets wrapped in coloured papers.
This fruit idea gives scope for clever fingers in the fashioning of bags and head-bands, belts and baskets, adorned with fruit carried out either in crochet of coloured wools, stuffed to the right shape, or in silks and satins wadded with cotton wool to represent plums and currants, peaches and muscatels. If you have any skill in gesso work, you can make some little boxes and trays decorated with raised fruits, and colour them daintily, adding a touch of gilding here and there. Fruits of china and glass will form presents much appreciated by the older girls. If you feel that your tree wants some touch to lighten it, cut a number of little butterflies out of papers of different colours, and attach one above each present, writing on the under-wing the name of the recipient-to-be.
The Girls Own Annual, 1919.