For the past week or so, our son has greeted us with the usual “Good Morning”, followed by telling us how many days are left until Christmas. Last week, we finally bought our tree, and decorated it. In the past we’ve gone to tree lots on the side of the busy street in the middle of town, the lot at the home improvement store and last year, we actually went to a tree farm and cut our own. We have a tradition every year of buying a dozen donuts to snack on later while we decorate the tree (December is not the time to start a diet in our house!). Every year, we try to decide on whether or not to use white lights (my choice) or colored lights (Kevin’s choice, which as you can see by the picture is what we went with. That’s ok, I have a tree on my porch with white lights!) Every year, I see the tree, and think about my history with Christmas trees.
My birthday happens to be in December, and for as long as I can remember, my mom really tried to avoid bringing a Christmas tree into the house until the day after my birthday. She really wanted to make sure that my birthday felt like a birthday. I don’t know if she always adhered to that belief, but I do remember that this was how it was when I was a teenager. On the next day, the birthday was officially over, and all of the Christmas decorations were brought out and hung up!
When I was little, we lived out in the country, where trees were plentiful. I do have pictures somewhere that my mother took one year, of my dad cutting down a tree somewhere in the pasture across the road from our house. The cows and I supervised the cutting. During the remaining years on that property, we went to the tree farm that was across the road and about a half mile away. Very convenient.
After my parents divorced, a tree wasn’t always in the budget, but my mom would get one anyway, because that is what was a part of the Christmas tradition. Sometimes, a family in our church, would drive into the woods and cut down Christmas trees for the single mothers and single senior women in our church. More than once, my mom would leave her place of work at the end of the day and there would be a Christmas tree tied to her car. She was thrilled and very touched that we were thought of.
After my mom remarried, our first Christmas with my step-father threatened to change her sense of Christmas tradition. As most people are aware, the Christmas tree doesn’t necessarily stem from any Christian origin. My step-father decided that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas with something of a Pagan origin in our house and therefore, no tree. My mom did not like that idea at all! She was really down about it and several times told him that we had always had a tree and it just wasn’t Christmas without one. After about a week, he finally came to the realization that this was a compromise that would not come out in his favor. So he went outside, and climbed up the Pine tree that was taller than our mobile home, and cut about 4 feet off of the top, and that was our tree. It was a bit round, so my mom called it our Christmas bush (I don’t think that our neighbors noticed the “flat top” on the tree outside). The tree issue never came up again.
My mom loved to drape loose tinsel on our trees. I never cared for it. Our tree would be so covered in tinsel that we couldn’t see much of the green. It was also a mess to clean up when Christmas When I moved out and had my first Christmas tree, I opted for tinsel free. She probably thought that it looked rather plain. I remember that my friend Carrie and her parents bought that tree for me, and gave it to me about a week before my birthday. I went to the store with my sister to buy some lights (blue, to go with the blue/geese theme in my kitchen which was only 6 feet from where the tree stood in my little apartment). I added all of the decorations that my grandma had given to me over the years (and discovered that I needed to buy some more ornaments It was a nice little tree!
Anyway, those are some of my memories of one small aspect of Christmas.
- Our Tree for 2013!