A special, unique tradition
Georgie Petitjean’s “bird tree”
Even Georgie Petitjean’s small tree has started being adorned by bird ornaments as well.
Georgie Petitjean’s table centerpiece also features bird ornaments.
Georgie Petitjean has always liked birds.
Take a look outside her house at the bird feeder full of seeds, the garden flag with a cardinal, or, if you’re invited in, look at her walls where birds are also hung.
Petitjean is a member of Crowley’s Garden Club, so it isn’t overly shocking to those who know her.
Her late husband also liked birds, and he’d feed them everyday, according to Petitjean, something she still does.
All in all, her Christmas tree’s décor should hardly be a surprise.
Petitjean’s chosen ornaments and Christmas-time decorations are now centered around birds and it all started three years ago.
In November 2010, Petitjean lost her husband and her desire for a jazzy Christmas with glitzy decorations was gone.
So instead of tinsel and shiny ornaments, Petitjean consulted her friend Maria Gall Fontenot, owner of Louisiana Church Interiors and Gifts in Crowley, and Gall showed her the bird ornaments she was carrying in the store.
“My husband always fed (the birds) and I liked birds, so it made sense,” said Petitjean.
Since then, every year, Petitjean has decorated her tree with the bird ornaments, adding to the collection some each year.
In fact, the additions usually start coming in July when Fontenot starts placing her Christmas orders for Louisiana Church Interiors and Gifts.
Recently, Petitjean has added ornaments of birds carrying small Santas onto a preexisting smaller tree, and her dining room table features ornaments of birds hanging in wire wreaths.
The birds are unique in several different ways. First, there are many kinds of ornaments on Petitjean’s tree – some clip while others hang. Second, the ornaments’ characteristics are unique as well – one bird is holding a smaller ornament, another is holding a candy cane and yet another is beautifully perched. Finally, there are different kind of birds on Petitjean’s tree – cardinals and chickadees to name a few.
“There are a lot of birds on that tree,” said Petitjean.
But while they are unique and different, there is one thing that makes them all similar: they look real.
“I wanted them to look like birds,” said Petitjean.
There is, however, one exception, a new addition this year from her grandson who lives in Buffalo, N.Y., an origami bird that rests on one of her Christmas tree’s branches. His family’s visit marked the beginning of a “Christmas month” of sorts for Petitjean with two of her children visiting before the holidays, one she will visit in Lafayette Christmas Day and the fourth who will visit after Christmas.
As for next year, when Christmas time rolls around again, Petitjean will be able to look forward to the chance to add more birds to her tree with more unique flair.