To set the scene, Grey Rabbit lives with her friends, Squirrel and Hare and the story concerns their preparations for Christmas, sledging in the snow, and a visit to their neighbour Mole.
When the three got near Mole’s house they saw something glittering. A lighted tree grew by the path, like a burning beacon.
“Oh dear! Something’s on fire!” cried Hare. “Let’s put it out. Climb up and blow it out, Squirrel!”
“Hush, whispered Grey Rabbit. “It’s a magical tree, a tree from Fairyland growing in our wood!”
On every branch of the little fir-tree candles wavered their tongues of flame. Little red and gold fruits hung from the tips of the boughs. On the ground under the branches were bowls of hazel nuts, round loaves of barley bread, piles of wheaten cakes, small sacks of corn, and platters of berries. There were jars of honey, as big as thimbles, and bottles of heather-ale, as big as acorns. Icicles and hailstones shone like diamonds among the branches, brightly coloured feathers and shells were fastened to the bark, and chains of frozen water-drops swung to and fro, reflecting the candle-light.
Through the tip-top of this wonderful tree gleamed the Christmas Star.
If I were ever to eschew my lovely tree decorations collected over the years, and (horror of horrors!) do a “themed” Christmas tree, this passage describes what I would aim for.
If you have never read Alison Uttley’s lovely Christmas tale (or any of the other tales of Little Grey Rabbit), please consider it. It is such a lovely, cosy, story and perfect for the pausing space on dark winter evenings as you hunker down in firelight, or candlelight, or treelight. Better still, read it out loud to your children, or your partner, or yourself. I think we under-estimate the joy of reading out loud.