Mixsonian Larry

The Owl in the Christmas Tree

The Owl Ornament

Christmas stories are as old as Christmas itself.  As Christmas is celebrated by each generation stories of Christmas past are told, and new stories made.   This is the story of the owl in the Christmas tree.   A story of family, a story of tradition, a story Deeply Rooted.

     My sister and her husband live and raised their three children in the country, out past such small towns like Micanopy, and McIntosh, past Orange Lake, closer to Reddick, if you can call Reddick a town.  Living on a farm I think my nieces and nephew gained something that those raised in the city didn’t have, a connection to the outdoors, a connection to animals, a connection to each other.  

      A Christmas tradition that our parents had with my sisters, brother and I was to every year go out and buy a Christmas tree.  We waited until after Thanksgiving, for in those times, Christmas trees and decorations didn’t come out until after Thanksgiving.  Dad would announce one evening it was time to go get a tree and we all pile all excitedly into the car and go to a place on some corner to look at trees.  My brother and sisters would all scatter, going up and down the aisles of trees to find the perfect one.  Shaped just right, not too tall, not too short, not too wide, not to skinny.  When we thought we found the perfect tree we would run and find mom and dad and drag them over to show them the tree we found.  After debating the merits of each find, the family would decide on the perfect tree and take it home on top of the car.  Dad would cut off the bottom, and after perhaps, with a few not so polite words, would wrestle it into the house where we would turn it around and around to find the best side.  Dad would put on the lights which we all would then decorate.  Out of many boxes would come the ornaments, globes, elves, reindeer, angels and more.  And then there was the box of special ornaments each having a special meaning and we would all remember and cherish putting them on the tree.

     My sister and her family carried on the tradition but in their own special way.  Instead of going out to buy a Christmas tree, living on a farm, they went out into the field and surrounding forest and cut down one of their own.  I can only imagine, much like my brother and sisters did, her children would run out amongst the trees, each finding one and then discussing the merits of each before deciding upon the perfect tree.  I think my nephew might had an advantage in that, living on the farm, I could imagine him going out the day before scouting for the perfect tree.    But there was that one special Christmas my sister her family went out to get a tree, each child reporting back their find and deciding upon the tree.  The tree was cut down and the son grabbed the tree, dragging it over to the fence throwing it over, putting the tree in back of the pickup truck and taking it back to the house.  In the house they cut some off the bottom, put it in the stand and erected it.  Much to everyone’s surprise, my sister looks into the tree and there sits a baby owl!  It had stayed there though all the chopping, hauling and erecting of the tree.  They gathered up the owl and let it fly free.

     This Christmas story has become part of family lore, a story told at each Christmas.  This year I decided to add a bit of my own to the story.  I painted a Christmas ornament with the image of an owl which was glazed and fired in a kiln so it will last.  I presented the owl ornament to my sister and her family this night as a memory of the story their family holds so dear.  An ornament they can hang on the tree each year, an ornament they can pass to their children and grandchildren along with the story of the Owl in the Christmas Tree.

The Owl in the Christmas Tree

Larry Mixson, 12-15-2019