There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

magic in the air

IT MAY NOT ALWAYS be readily apparent, but if you squint, blur your eyes and find the space between reality and the magic that is in the very air we breathe during the holidays—if you listen intently—you might even hear the sleigh bells ringing and a distant chuckle. Then you'll know that St. Nicholas will soon be here.

I REMEMBER in decorating the trees of my childhood, the lights were always multicolored then, with some of the bulbs being an unblinking solid color, and some being a translucent color. All of them were blinking on their own independent schedule. This gave the tree an effect of a multicolored sky of bright fireflies. The overall scene was wonderously magical.

WHEN THE TREE was done I would sit on the sofa facing the the "picture window," in front of which the tree stood proudly, for the passersby to see. I would blur my eyes until the lights melded together and formed halos of overlapping color. It was mesmerizing. It was if we had our own blinking constellation of color that bounced off of the ceiling and every reflective surface in the room.

SOME SAY the season is ushered in at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by Santa in his sleigh being pulled by eight flying reindeer. That's the way it used to be. These days it starts long before that. But the beginning mark of the holiday season is when the magic of the season lights up a child’s eyes. Whether it be by the lights themselves, glitter everywhere you look, or brightly-hued baubles hanging from the tree's branches; the real focus of the season is where all of that comes together—the tree.

THIS ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT TREE was conceived by good intentions when it was decorated, but it drooped and sagged under the weight of the heavy glittered reindeer heads, metal acanthus leaves and sleigh bells. Even so, Santa was diligent with his reindeer, create their own brand of glittery magic. With its LED lit branches, the tree still provided a measure of warmth for the season that began after Thanksgiving, so the droopy branches didn't seem to matter.

ITS QUIRKY NATURE, I thought, was a welcome relief from a tediously-decorated real tree that was the year before. Not to say they both weren’t beautiful in their own right. Even in my semi-failures, I try to find the beauty, so they’re not really failures at all. I even glittered one of the reindeer’s noses with red glass glitter, to make Rudolf's nose glow. Now he stood out alongside Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen . . . and on with, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen!

THE REINDEER GAMES of the season are your chance to experiment with something new. It’s always enjoyable to look for a uniquely creative way to express the holiday. So with your best conceptual Santa cap on, consider a new way to decorate your tree—even try a new kind of tree. It's always satisfying to find a distinctive way to decorate and stand out from the crowd. Santa might even give you a reward and let you guide his sleigh through the season. And now that you're aligned with Rudolf, you may even go down in history!

collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland.
Special thanks to Devin Borden for the location.


  1. Beautiful. I am in love with the santa ornament.

  2. Hi Darryl

    I'll be up all night reading. Where did you find the Santa and reindeer ornaments? I love them. I feel like it's Christmas in July.


    1. The reindeer heads were sold at Target a couple of seasons ago and the Santa came from Tuesday Morning, I think.