This is a beautiful post, Dave. It is indeed lovely to decorate a tree at this season, especially here in the northern hemisphere where the exterior world is adorned mostly with the harsh beauties of ice. (Hence, I expect, the juxtaposition of images in this post.)
I love the name “boobook owl,” which I initially misread as “bookbook owl.” Owls always seem to me like they might be bookworms, in some sense. Maybe it’s that cultural association between their faces and wisdom.