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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

O (Yummy) Christmas Tree

Tamra Wilson
Lobster platter ornament

Have you noticed the trend of putting food on Christmas trees? No, I’m not talking about strings of actual cranberries, popcorn or candy canes, but fake edibles: vegetables and fruit and baked goods, seafood and sandwiches.

A gardener friend dove into the produce theme recently with glass ornaments depicting eggplants, lettuce, corn, broccoli, onions, strawberries, grapes, and tomatoes. It was quite a colorful stunner.

Stores sell Lilliputian pizzas, bottles of wine, and beer steins. I’ve found drum sticks, sushi, and replicas of Chinese takeout cartons; along with tiny, glass renditions of half cabbages, pretzels, tacos, and fortune cookies.

Credit Tamra Wilson
Christmas candy ornament.

I didn’t see this kind of stuff growing up, when the closest thing to a main course on a tree was a glass ornament in the shape of fish. My mother thought it odd, as did I – not knowing the fish was a Christian symbol for “fishers of men” and “loaves and fishes.” I considered it in terms of the “catch of the day,” perhaps the idea behind an assortment of pastel-glass minnow ornaments for our tree.

I joined the foodie Christmas tree crowd in the 1980s when my brother gifted me with a hang-able “order” of a burger, fries, and drink. Then a companion ornament of a drive-in restaurant. Later came a musical Hallmark gem: a Weiner Wagon that plays the Oscar Meyer jingle.

Along the way, we’ve picked up a couple of delightful French pastries and some glass “cellophane-wrapped” candies, along with a pastry-chef Santa holding a gingerbread house. As I recall, these were related to our son’s interest in baking. In honor of my husband’s favorite breakfast fare, we acquired a glass “blue-plate special” ornament of bacon and eggs that came from a Christmas shop in Myrtle Beach.

As a souvenir of my time at the University of Southern Maine, I bought a tiny platter with a tiny cooked lobster, complete with clams, buttered baked potato, and corn on the cob. The thing is made of ceramic and must be hung from a sturdy branch. This venture into New England was made in China and purchased at Blackhawk Hardware in Charlotte. 

My last purchase was the glass pickle, supposedly a must-have to carry on the “tradition” of finding it on the tree so you can open the first gift. That tradition was lost on me for more than 55 years until a retailer informed me what I’d been missing.

There’s something about delicate miniatures that continues to attract me, and the more offbeat the better – to make a tree look good enough to eat.