It is fitting that I discovered Cobweb Christmas in the library of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Written by Shirley Climo and illustrated by Jane Manning, this picture book explains the tradition of tinsel. The age range printed inside the cover is 4 to 8, and when I showed the book to my seven-year-old daughter, she announced, “A mystery reader read that to us at school last week!” I was unfamiliar with this tale in which an elderly German "Auntie" cleans her cottage and prepares for Christmas. “All her life, Tante had heard tales about marvelous happenings on Christmas Eve. Animals might speak aloud. Bees might hum carols, or cocks crow at midnight. Tante wished she could witness a bit of Christmas magic, too.”  When the curious spiders Tante has swept away enter her home to inspect her tree, they leave tangled webs in their wake. In the morning the old woman arises to discover the Christmas gift she has always wanted. 

I don’t know how many people put tinsel on their trees these days, but my mother used to reuse the same metal strands each year. Here are some photos from my childhood Christmases with the tinseled trees . . .  

Wishing you the magic of Christmas - and no, it doesn't come wrapped with a bow!


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