For more than a decade, NCSML staff and volunteers have decorated a tree for Rozek Grand Hall. Longtime volunteer, Dell Mills has been part of the process since the beginning.
After the flood in 2008, Dell personally helped salvage what decorations and ornaments he could, including hand scrubbing strings of popcorn! Over the years he has researched and collected personal stories from over 200 people, who have shared their family traditions and the symbolism behind each ornament.
Today, the tree stands 13 and ½ feet tall and holds over 1500 ornaments. Most ornaments are hand-made and have special meaning drawing from Christianity and Czech folklore. Each year staff and volunteers come together to erect this beautiful tree and share in the stories of the friends, family and heritage. Gathered together, we enjoy christmas music and the joy of being part of an NCSML tradition!
Meaning of the Ornaments
ANGELS – top the tree, closest to Heaven
(left to right) Margaret Kenney and Janis Mass, both volunteers, who help decorate the tree.
APPLES – Adam & Eve, the Garden of Eden
BIRDS – represent Joy and Cheerfulness
CARROTS – bring good luck in the kitchen
DOVES – symbolize Peace and Love
MORAVIAN STARS – beginning of Advent
MUSHROOMS – good fortune is at hand!
ORANGES – fruit at Christmas time used to be unobtainable & was considered a rare treat!
PINECONES & EVERGREENS – eternal life
POPCORN GARLAND – represents the rope Joseph used to lead the donkey to Bethlehem
TREE SKIRT – baby Jesus’ swaddling cloth
WALNUTS – gifts brought by the wise men
WHEAT – life, prosperity and nourishment