“The huge fir tree in the center carried many gold and silver apples, and, like buds and blossoms, the sugared almonds and colorful bonbons and goodness knows what other tidbits emerged from all the branches. However, the loveliest and most praiseworthy feature of the wonder tree was the myriad of tiny lights that twinkled like tiny stars in its dark boughs….
“And the tree itself, shining in and out, warmly invited the children to pick its blooms and fruits. Around the tree, everything shone very grand and bright — what gorgeous things there were — why, who could describe them all?”
From “Ukraine” in Vintage Christmas Traditions edited by Linda Davies:
“[In Ukraine] … the holidays start on December 4th with the Feast of the Presentation, through to Malanka, a New Year’s celebration.
“A Ukrainian legend is shared about a family who were so poor they couldn’t afford to decorate their Christmas tree. They went to bed feeling sad, but during the night spiders came out of the woodwork, and wove intricate webs on the tree as decorations….
“The following morning, the sun’s rays shone through the windows, turning the spiders’ webs into sparkling silver and gold.”