Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!

Our Christmas Tree Burl Chain


We call it our Christmas Tree Burl Ornament, but we should call it our Christmas tree memory chain.

I got the idea from a Mother Earth Magazine the first year we were married. Mother Earth: I guess that’s how the burl idea got planted and rooted so firmly in my mind. (okay – no more puns in this post. I promise.)

The dictionary says a burl is “a hard, woody rounded deformity in a tree, often due to an injury to the bark.” (Think burlwood coffee tables and decoupage art…Mother Earth…) Our “burls” are just slices of tree trunk.

John slices a circle from the trunk of our Christmas tree when he levels it to put it in the stand. And then we store it away to dry completely. (The burl, not the tree.)

The following year as Christmas approaches we pull out the burl and pictures from the previous year. I glue a picture from that Christmas on each flat side of the circle. We usually put a picture of the kids on one side and a picture of John and me on the other. Then we put an eye-screw in the top and the bottom of the circle, and connect them with fishing swivels.

Now, after twenty-eight years, we have a long chain of Christmas burls. Hanging down both sides of the doorway between the dining room and living room, the circles range from two inches in diameter to the size of a dessert plate. The smallest burl has a picture of chubby cheeked toddlers, reminding us of the reason we had such a tiny tree set high up on a table. The one with the biggest diameter pictures mighty hunter children who went in search of “…the tallest tree we can find – one that touches the ceiling!”

One of the pictures shows our oldest son, Matthew cutting down the pine tree that grew too big for our front yard. And the burl is from that same tree. One of them shows the kids in Christmas pageant outfits, and one of them pictures three very pale sick kids…

“This was the year such-and-such happened…”  We gather around and look at the pictures and turn them over and remembe all the Christmases past.

Our Christmas Tree Burl Chain heralds the season. It’s the first ornament I hang up at Christmastime, and I believe today is the day!


Author: paladinipotpie

Welcome! My name is Andrena Paladini and this is a blog about family and love and faith and fun. I call it Paladini Potpie because a potpie is like an adventure in a crust. You never know what might come up, but it’s always going to be good! Think of the best potpie you’ve ever eaten…hot flaky crust holding a rich savory sauce and all kinds of pieces of meat and vegetables…and who knows what? As a family, we’ve chosen to live within the parameters of God’s love and protection. This is the crust of our Paladini Potpie. The crust never changes. Within this crust, the savory sauce of family love binds it all together. That is also fairly constant. But beyond the crust and the sauce we can add just about anything! Good ideas come our way and we’ve adopted and adapted them to add to what John calls our treasure box of memories. These stories and ideas from John’s treasure box of memories are the ingredients I’m putting into our Paladini Potpie. (Okay, so this ridiculous mixing of metaphors about treasure boxes and potpies is exactly what I’m talking about. Silly and ungrammatically correct. But both illustrations work… so we’ll mix them together and it’ll be just fine!) John and I have been married for 30 years. Our children have wonderfully doubled in number since David married Amanda, Monica married Dan, and Matthew married Sarah. And the newest little treats that have been added to our potpie are six adorable grandchildren - Ethan, Angelina, Nathan, Audrey, Maleia and Caleb! I hope you’ll subscribe to my Paladini Potpie blog, and keep up with all the fun new ingredients I add. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our stories and ideas, and find something you’ll want to put into your own potpie! Bon appétit!

4 thoughts on “Our Christmas Tree Burl Chain

  1. What a precious way to remember family and memories in the past.

  2. lol I just saw this idea in a magazine last week but rather than a photo they used a tool and burned the year in it. I like your idea much better.

  3. Such a unique idea, Mother Earth made a neat impression on you as you began your married life together. You are enjoying the nature ‘wood’ decoration each year at our wonderful Christmas Season. Bet your kids might have started a project similar to this as they head down their many years of marriage also.

  4. Reblogged this on Paladini Potpie and commented:

    Our Christmas decorating begins today, so it seemed like a good day to do a reprise of our Christmas tree memory chain. It’s always the first decoration to go up in our house.

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