Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tree 2011

Yesterday I went down to the Christmas tree lot to select our Christmas tree for the season.  I have to admit that paying for a Christmas tree is probably cheaper than the process that we did as kids and we definitely get a nicer tree - but it sure isn’t as fun!

My Mom was fun – she was strict…but she was fun and creative.  My first memories of going out to get a tree must have been when I was five or so.  Granny Shearer went with us and Granny, Henry and I stayed behind while the rest went to get the tree.  Granny was too old to tromp through that snow and Henry and I both had too short of legs.  By the time the rest had come back with the necessary trees, Granny and I had filled our time up with making baby snowmen.  We would drink the hot cocoa that Mom brought in a thermos and then the real fun would start.  Dad would connect our sleds to the back of the car and drag us all over the place.  I was too young for most of this fun – but was allowed for short rides.  We would then begin the process of going home.  All of us singing Christmas songs made the ride go that much faster.

Usually, more than one tree was necessary – a tree for our home, a small tree for Granny, and another tree that would be used as filler and for wreaths.  You might wonder why we needed one for filler.  The sad fact is Mom was also very picky about her Christmas trees – they needed lots of branches and no blank spots.  No matter how good a tree looks in the woods…there are always problem areas by the time you put it up.  So, Dad would have to get his drill out and he would drill holes in our tree and insert the branches where Mom told him.  There was always a bit of grumbling about this process but it was entertaining for us kids.  Then we would add the lights…those big bulbs that needed strong branches just to hold them.  I think they were 15 watt bulbs.  Dad’s eyes roll today at the cost of electricity when we used to put those bulbs on the tree, the house and the big spruce out front. 
Our cat Cinder peeking out after all the presents had been opened!

Next we began to add the ornaments.  There were homemade ornaments that we kids had created which I’m sure had to be put in the pride of position in the front of the tree.  We also had ornaments that Mom had made in ceramics and old bulbs that had been passed down as well as new ones that Mom had bought.  Back then, there were no fancy Hallmark ornaments to display.  Then it was time for the garland and that was strictly Mom’s domain.  She would add the garland arranging it in sweeps and drapes around the tree.  When she finished – it was time for our favorite activity – putting tinsel on the tree.  We just didn’t put one box or a single strand on one branch – we put clumps on.  Mom would later go back and thin out our clumps and make sure that we good coverage throughout the tree.  It seemed that we always had back ground music on from the TV.  For several years it seemed like either the Bing Crosby Christmas special was on or the Bob Home Christmas special was blaring across the TV.  It seems sad to me that kids today don’t really know about the silly fun of those Christmas shows. 

Christmas Tree 2011 - Not as spectacular as
when it is dark and the lights are twinkling,
 but definitely pretty.
By the time I was about 12, the Christmas tree was Mom and my project.  The rest of the kids had pretty much lost interest.  It was still Mom’s tree and many of the same decorations were still hanging on its branches.  By this time we had twinkling lights with a controller that allowed us to control the speed.  In our opinion, we had beautiful old fashioned Christmas trees that sparkled with colors, gold garland and silver tinsel. 

Yesterday, my sister-in-law helped me put up our tree.  Every year they are different but still beautiful.  It isn’t my sister-in-law’s style of tree – but like I told her, we are all products of our mothers.  My mother’s tree never had bows or ribbon decorating the branches and I doubt if my tree ever does.  There are a lot of Christmas trees that I like and I appreciate their beauty…but I love our tree and am always somehow sad to take it down.  However, I know a new one will spring up during the next year at Christmas.

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