Twinkles, icicles and tissue paper bells

A box full of Christmas decorations from a bygone age turned out to be my object for the 26 Children’s Winters project. Twinkles and tissue paper galore!

This project – a collaboration between writers collective 26 and the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh – pairs twenty-six writers with twenty-six objects from the museum’s collection and invites us all to write a sestude (a piece of exactly 62 words) in response.

I visited the Museum a couple of weeks ago to view my object – a box of Christmas decorations. The decorations, donated by a Miss Graham Montgomery in 1958, include a packet of ‘icicles’ and a packet of ‘twinkles’ from the 1950s (or maybe even 1940s). These are made up of thin silver strips and little silver spirals designed to hang from the branches of a Christmas tree.

The strips are heavy enough to convince me they are made of lead – a common material for tree decorations during that era – but no mention of it on the packaging. These type of decorations were phased out in the 1960s due to concerns about lead poisoning!

The box is also full of tissue paper streamers and fold-out honeycomb tissue paper bells, balls and what looks like a flower, donated by ‘a car collector’. I think these must be from the 1960s and 1970s. They reminded me of spending each Christmas as a child excitedly opening out our own 3D decorations, only to discover the little metal tabs designed to secure them had all broken off. Cue much fiddling with sellotape to hold the things open.

I’m glad to say the decorations in the box all have bits of tape and old string here and there, suggesting most of them have been well used at some time, rather than just hidden away.

My sestude inspired by this box of delights is in its final stages now.