Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Bunce Family Tree Skirt Story

For those of you who have heard this story before, just skip to the bottom for the picture of this year's addition. For the rest of you, here's the story...

When I graduated from college in 1978, I took a job with The Boeing Co. in Seattle, WA writing software for military aircraft. That's about 3000 miles from NC where I grew up. My mother cried and told people I had moved to the "upper left hand corner". (She's right-brained and extremely directionally challenged.) In those early days, I cross stitched on my lunch hour and in the evenings for mental health therapy. (It was a stressful job.) Back then I stitched about forty Christmas ornaments each year as gifts. (I'm down to about 25/year now.) But I never had time to stitch those lovely Christmas scenes that I collected.

I met a wonderful man and four years later we were married. That was 1982. His family was also a couple of thousand miles away. We didn't spend many of those early Christmases with either of our families. So I decided we should create our own Christmas traditions.

Since Boeing closes shop between Christmas and New Year's I decided to take that week and stitch (or start) one of the larger Christmas designs that I'd never had time to do before. I made a large (approximately six feet in diameter) tree skirt out of heavy red felt and trimmed it with one inch wide grosgrain ribbon. When I finished the Christmas cross stitch, including the year, I appliqued (fancy term for sewed it on with some trim) it onto the tree skirt. Voila, a tradition was born.

I have done a new one every year since. There are twenty-eight now. Some have meaning like the patriotic one in 2001 and the puppies in 1986. That was the year we started having dog children. Some are ones that my husband chose (from a select few that I allowed him to look at) and some are designs I just wanted to stitch because I liked them. All are precious and I love looking at them and remembering the time I spent stitching them. I can see the changes in my life, the growth of my needlework abilities and interests, and most of all, the love in my life.

Now, my tree skirt is full...or it will be once I attach this year's piece. What I'm going to do next year is still a mystery, but have no fear I will come up with something.


  1. What a great tradition! You could always put up another tree that would require a second tree skirt!

  2. What a lovely tradition! Your tree skirt looks fun~

  3. Magnificent Tommye - what a special heirloom too!
    Maybe you could do a stocking with patches every year?

  4. Such a beautiful tree skirt and a great tradition! Looks like you may have to add a length around the skirt to add more pieces in the coming years!!

  5. What a wonderful tradition! Love your finishes especially this year's. What a treasure to have too.

  6. Love that tradition! I know you cherish each piece as they all tell a story.... A definite heirloom!!! Take care and Happy New Year~~~ Faye

  7. Beautiful !! I'm a very sentimental person and love traditions like this one.

  8. What a great idea! I would have to have room for 39 pieces though. It will be interesting to see how you figure out what to do in the future.


  9. Hi, I have just found your blog from Facebook, as I have just joined the same group as you. What a wonderful tradition you have made for your family with the tree skirt, its so beautiful. I am sure it will be treasured for many years to come.
    Here's hoping we can be stitchy friends on facebook.


  10. What a beautiful tradition! I hope you don't mind someone stealing it from you!