Meijer Garden: Christmas Trees from Around the World

03Do you have a lot of family traditions for Christmas? What’s your favorite? 02One perennial favorite of mine is looking at all the Christmas trees decorated in Ireland 2traditional garb from around the world. This year, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you and make a bit of a game out of it, that I’m thinking even kids or grandkids might enjoy. I’ll show you a tree, but I’ll list the name of the country depicted under the picture of the tree below. So, here’s the first one:The NetherlandsWant to take a guess?AustraliaOkay, the first one (in honor of living in Grand Rapids) was “The Netherlands.” I bet most of you guessed it right. That was easy, right? How about this one?Mexico“Australia!” (How’d they do, Dorthea? Does it look authentic?) How about this? IrelandOkay: Mexico. (Ya, I know you could read it, but that builds confidence!) 🙂Switzerland 1Celtic harp, Celtic cross, lots of green…does it look like “Ireland,” Sarah? PeruCowbells and Edelweiss on a cow’s horn? “Switzerland!” Now, shift continents…Native AmericanJPGThe last one was “Peru”. (Look right, Dr. Ward?) This is more a people group…Victorian Tree“Native American.” (Would you approve, Carl?) This one is more in the style of an era named for an English ruler…Canada“Victorian.” Now, this one’s from the cold north, but I bet you can guess!Belize“Canada.” Wow! We have so many friends in Canada: Melody, Paul and Lynn, Glenn and Sandy, Moira, Janice, Beth, and on and on! I’d love to hear if Canadians really dress their trees this way. It looks so perfect for the north! Now think warm Caribbean waters. I couldn’t have guessed this one…Brazil“Belize.” (Does that look about right, Julia?) How about this one, Dawnie?Africa 2“Brazil.” Okay, so this one is a dead give away, but it might be your last freebie!Korea“Africa” (of course). Now on to Asia and the most Christians-per-capita nation in the world today, where they have a single church with over 100,000 members…Japan

“Korea.” (What do you think, E.J.?) And this: Mike and Grace hope to move to__Middle East“Japan!” This next one represents an area of the world where olive wood grows.Germany“The Middle East.” This country has a special tradition of hiding a pickle…Iceland“Germany,” where my beloved daughter-in-law Gerlinde was born! This one’s icyAustria“Iceland.” This tree represents the country where “Silent Night” was composed.England“Austria.” This country is where both Alan and I have our ethnic roots…Finland“England.” This lovely tree represents the heritage of my two spiritual moms…Spain“Finland.” Many famous artists and explorers came from___ (not Italy)…Russia“Spain.” This vast, cold treasure-house of a country spans three continents…Greece“Russia.” This land of golden isles is famed for their ancient philosophers.Poland“Greece.” The homeland of Fryderyk Chopin and Pope John Paul II is…Denmark“Poland.” Alan is crazy about the pastries from this country. We have tickets to Lithuaniavisit there next spring…”Denmark.” This country is at the geographic center ofUkraine 2 Europe…”Lithuania.” And, there were more, but I’ll end with this lovely tree from the Ukraine, where the story is told that one poor family had no money to Ukrainedecorate their tree at all, so during the night, some kindly spiders spun webs through the tree, which turned to strands of silver and gold in the morning. Isn’t that a sweet legend? It makes me think of Jesus, who provided salvation for me when I had no means of earning it for myself and turns all the common experiences of life into something precious. 04Well, where ever in the world you are, I hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas Eve with the warmth of abundant love surrounding you!  Christmas Wreats     “Glory to God on the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”