Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Author Ingrid King Visits

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Ingrid King back to Thoughts in Progress as the special guest blogger today.

Many may know Ingrid as a fellow blogger from her blog, The Conscious Cat. She is also the author of BUCKLEY’S STORY - LESSONS FROM A FELINE MASTER TEACHER, which recently won the 2010 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award at the International Cat Writers Association’s annual awards banquet.

Writers sometimes need a way to give background on a character in order for readers to better understand why they say or act a certain way. At the same time, readers always want background and more information on the writer. Nothing gives background better than Christmas memories. With that in mind and with Christmas less than a month away, Ingrid has agreed to share some of her background with us as she talks about ‘Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree – Memories of Holidays Past.’

I love the holiday season, and my favorite part is always the annual decorating of the Christmas tree. I’ve collected ornaments for the past twenty some years or more, and inevitably, bringing out the ornaments each year leads to a lovely, if  sometimes bittersweet, trip down memory lane.

I grew up in Germany, and traditionally, our Christmas tree was not decorated until Christmas Eve. As a small child, I was not allowed into the living room while the tree was being decked out in its holiday glory. I can still remember the eager and impatient anticipation of the moment when my parents would ring a small brass bell that hung on the tree, and I could finally enter the room. It was pure magic each time. The tree was decorated with multi-colored glass balls, sparkling tinsel, and real candles – something that we can’t even imagine in these safety conscious times we live in. 

When I moved to the United States in my mid-twenties, I was introduced to the tradition of putting the Christmas tree up right after Thanksgiving. I loved this – now I could have the tree
up for several weeks, not the mere two weeks I was used to from my childhood! I was also introduced to artificial Christmas trees.

At first I balked at the idea – the intoxicating pine scent of my childhood trees was such an essential part of the holidays, it was odd to think about having to give that up. But, being able to have a tree up for five to six weeks won out over not having the real thing. Not having to deal with cleaning up needles for weeks after the tree was taken down was a nice side benefit. And since having a fake tree has become the environmentally conscious thing to do these days, rather than making apologies for my fake tree, I am now politically correct. 

I’ve accumulated quite a collection of ornaments over the years. Many of them are cat themed, and I can usually remember where I got them or who gave them to me. There are photo ornaments that contain the photos of my cats, past and present. There are ornaments from places I’ve traveled to, like the shell ornament from a beach trip, the fat glass cat from a recent trip to New York City (is there anything better than New York City at Christmas time?), or the handmade wooden ornament my dad made for me the year before he passed away. There’s the white tiger ornament that reminds me of a trip to Las Vegas to see Siegfried and Roy’s amazing performance. There’s the angel tree topper that came from the world famous Christmas market in Nuremberg, Germany. 

And of course, there’s the small brass bell from my childhood Christmases, and it still brings back the memory of that magic moment each and every holiday season.

Ingrid, thanks for sharing these lovely memories. Christmas ornaments can take one down memory lane. Collecting ornaments is a wonderful tradition for the entire family and one that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Now a bit more background on Ingrid. She is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. Her online magazine News for You and Your Pet goes out to subscribers around the world. Her blog, The Conscious Cat, has been called “educational cat nip for the cat lover” and is a comprehensive resource for conscious living, health and happiness for cats and their humans. For more information about Ingrid and BUCKLEY’S STORY - LESSONS FROM A FELINE MASTER TEACHER, be sure to visit Buckley’s Story.


  1. Thank you for introducing Ingrid to us. My favorite part is decorating the Christmas tree as well. We did it the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The memories flow with each ornament we unwrap. It's such a special tradition. :D

  2. It's not really Christmas in my house until the tree is up! Thanks for sharing your memories with us, Ingrid! I'm looking forward to getting our tree this weekend. :)

  3. Ingrid, thanks again for sharing your memories. Over the years ornaments tell so many stories on our trees making Christmas that much more special to us.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Ingrid.

    Ingrid - Ornaments can really be heirlooms, can't they? Thank you so much for sharing your own memories of Christmas, and of what it's meant to you. I think we all have those childhood memories that still make us smile...

  5. Our ornament collection is like our own personal book, telling the story of our lives. But I think what I love the most here is the little brass bell. How wonderful that the little sound of the bell can bring back such a wealth of memories and good feelings.

  6. Always great to hear about other writers. Thanks Mason!

  7. yep, here in Europe we do not decorate Christmas trees until the morning before the Christmas Eve

  8. What a nice post. I really love reading these types or articles. I can?t wait to see what others have to say.

  9. Interesting to read about Ingrid´s German Christmas traditions. In Denmark we also do some things in the German way. We decorate the tree in the afternoon, and we also have the German Advent wreath with four large candles. We have always let our children help us decorate the tree, though. We still use real candles, but of course we don´t leave them out of sight. (We have had a singed spot now and then, but I can assure you our trees are too fresh to explode in fire in case anyone should worry about us.)

  10. It's always nice to learn about another writer. Christmas memories are particularly vivid in getting to know someone.

    Ingrid, I love your German tradition of waiting till Christmas Eve to decorate the tree. Having a tree up for six weeks is great but I can't help but think that waiting till Christmas Eve would make the whole thing even more special.

    And I'm with you on being environmentally conscious. That's very important. We had a Christmas tree growing in our garden in England. We'd never cut it down and take it into the house. We'd decorate it outside where it belonged and keep it alive. I have many happy memories of that tree.


  11. I want to read Buckley's Story!
    And nice to hear someone else's tree is covered in cat ornaments.

  12. We always had real trees when I was a kid. I thought an artificial one was sacrilegious! Now, I am thankful I no longer worry about burning down the house by catching dry needles on fire.

  13. Mason, thank you so much for hosting me!

    Brenda, the memories that come with unwrapping the ornaments are the best part of decorating the tree, aren't they?

    Elizabath, have fun decorating your tree this weekend.

    Margot, I think what makes Christmas ornaments so special as heirlooms is that we get to rediscover them again each year.

    Joanne, I never expected that little bell to bring back all these memories even decades later. It's very special.

    Dezmon and Dorte, it's nice to hear that the tradition of waiting to decorate the tree until Christmas Eve is still alive and well in Europe. I'd forgotten about Advent's wreaths - we used to have that, too.

    Jai, I love the idea of an outdoor tree that keeps on growing. Lovely!

    Diane, I hope you enjoy Buckley's Story. The cat ornaments have definitely taken over here. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't end up with a real live cat ornament this year - this is Allegra's first Christmas, and at 14 months, she's still very much a kitten!

    Alex, I still marvel that we had a real tree and real candles - and this was in an apartment building!

  14. Ingrid's memories are wonderful! They took me back to my childhood Christmases MANY years ago. No artificial trees ever in my life until I was in my sixties! But they are "cleaner" and just as pretty with all the ornaments on them, especially ones with ornaments like Ingrid describes!

    Thanks, Mason, for hosting her. I'd love to read her book. (Also, thanks to you, I've put my autumn picture back on my blog. I was missing it, too!)

  15. Thank you very much for making Ingrid as your guest for this post. i love her books and im waiting for her new releases.

    By: Katthedley


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.