One Christmas when I was a child my father brought home a gum bough as an alternative to the traditional pine tree. We all loved it, especially the scent of eucalyptus through the house. My mother was delighted to have a break from falling pine needles.
Since I live at a property in the Blue Mountains called The Gums, I feel I should do the same thing. I already have quite a few Australian tree ornaments, including a Norman Lindsay Magic Pudding, a Sydney Opera House and a golden harbour bridge.
In the lead-up to Christmas 2017 my partner and I were visiting Perth. In the city’s beautiful King’s Park I collected some gumnuts, with the vague notion of making more Aussie ornaments.
It seemed very appropriate that when we arrived back in Sydney the historic Strand Arcade had chosen gum leaves and gumnuts as their festive theme.
The author and illustrator May Gibbs would be delighted.
My own gum leaf gift tags are a bit ordinary by comparison, but people love them nevertheless.
An editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1928 discussed choosing a suitable Australian Christmas tree to replace European pines. Should it be Christmas bush, or banksia…. or any number of other contenders? The piece concluded;
The sapling Christmas Gum has a nostalgic fragrance that does more things to one’s heart than the sum-total beauty of all the others.