Photo of the Week
December 19, 1999

This week's photo is from the McLaughlin Family's "Panama Christmas Tree".  For many years now, it has been a tradition to have a "Panama Christmas Tree" in our home.  My Mother started this after my folks left Panama in '78.  Every year Mom would set up her Norfolk Pine with ornaments from Panama.  Every year we used to bring up the straw ornaments from El Valle to add to my Mom's collection.  We started our own collection too.  Every trip to El Valle would mean a purchase of a few more straw ornaments for the collection.  Then there was a San Blas lady that came to our house to sell her molas, her name was Hilda.  She introduced us to the the mola ornaments which are stuffed with cotton.  We then added these to the traditional tree.  Mom died in '89 and we have carried on her tradition every year since.  We have our big tree with the regular stuff in our Florida Room, and then our "Panama Christmas Tree" is in our Living Room.  It is certainly a nice tradition....The above photo shows El Valle straw ornaments of hats, a fish, a star and a lady in a montuno, a set of miniature congos and a couple of mola ornaments.  I took this photo close up for effect.  The actual tree stands 3 feet high and is loaded with a wonderful variety of ornaments from home.

May you all be blessed with a wonderful Holiday Season and a very prosperous New Year.  As my old West Indian friends used to say, "Compliments of the Season"....

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