The Christmas tree is up. Definitely early for us and, I must admit, a bit too early for me. We gave it a try – putting the tree up on Thanksgiving – but don’t think we will do it again. But (what do they say?), you never know unless you give it a try. For us, a tree in November makes the season feels rushed. Etc, etc. I will spare you all my opinions, but it is not that I am “anti” tree; in fact, we have two trees! What? (I have never been a fan of multiple trees and, exactly, who am I this year??)
Retrieving our tree from its spot in storage, we came across a second box clearly marked “tree.” Huh? It was brand new…still sealed in the box. Honestly, no one remembers buying it. Clearly, we are getting old….but I am sure it must have been “a deal too good to pass up” on an after-season sale somewhere. I dunno. But, this second tree is a much smaller, thin-shaped tree covered in white flocking. Sounds pretty, right? Probably why I (or someone!) purchased it. Of course, we had to put that one up as well. We wouldn’t want to offend whomever it was that scored such a deal?! That white flocking wants to decorate my entire house. It is messy – just sayin. But (as I’ve already stated), you never know unless you give it a try.
But we officially have Christmas trees. Not one, but two. And in November. I refuse to be called a grinch again. Although, the grinch is apparently very popular. And quite the cute guy. I see grinch-themed displays everywhere. Hobby Lobby really ran with the grinch theme this year! I had to run into Hobby Lobby yesterday. Despite my best planning and efforts, I just could not avoid it. Oh my. The flocking. The glitter!! The chaos and whatever happened to the holiday aisles. I truly feel bad for the Hobby Lobby employees! I really do.
Back to trees. They have been on my mind lately:) And I was thinking of the memories I have regarding Christmas trees. I do not have tons of tree memories from my own childhood. We always had a tree, of course, but I do not remember cutting down a tree and/or even decorating the tree as “a big deal.” We did not have a variety of collected ornaments nor did we have themes for our trees. My mom did have color schemes – coordinating balls and other matching ornaments. The one that will always be in my memory is our red, white and blue tree! Oh, yea. Can you guess what year we had that one? 1976 – the bicentennial. We thought it was the best!! (It wasn’t as tacky as it sounds, but still…..)
When I was much younger, I know my dad was much more involved with the tree. He loved a blue tree. Our tree, in those early years, may have even been purchased from a local parking lot. First, it was covered in blue lights. Then Dad would painstakingly adorn each branch with the infamous silver tinsel strings and, finally, he would brush the ends of each branch with fake snow. (A flocked tree before we even knew about flocking). It took quite a while to make it perfect and was a labor of love, to be sure. No doubt, something he learned from his mother.
My grandmother’s trees were also genuine labors of love – and sadly I have only heard about them. When I was old enough to remember, she had stopped this particular holiday tradition. But I have heard the stories many, many times. She and my grandfather would walk the woods and find (a) a very large branch that could be set upright or (b) a small sapling size tree. Depends on who was telling the story. Whichever one was used, these were bare branches – not evergreen. My grandmother would then separate rolls of cotton into thin, see-through sheets and lovingly wrap each branch of the tree creating a snow-covered effect. She worked on this at the end of long days and often long into the night but I am told the process would take several weeks to finish. I do not know what (if anything) other than lights was put on the tree but everyone agrees those trees were breathtaking. Works of love from her heart in order to make even the sparsest holidays memorable and magical.
When my own children were little, we had a real tree each year. We always went to get the tree on the weekend following my husband’s birthday. The children counted on this event happening…so the weather could not stop us! One year, the weather was less than cooperative. It rained for several days in a row and, apparently, we could not delay any longer. We all remember being in the family van and Dad out on the lot – in the rain. Not pouring but a good, steady rain. He brought several possibilities, one by one, closer to the van for our inspection until we all gave an enthusiastic thumbs up! Looking back – we must have been desperate for a tree!!
When the kids were a bit older, we found the perfect spot for cutting our own Christmas tree. We had to drive awhile to actually get to the country – and a Christmas tree farm – but we always made a day of it. We loved the drive…and we loved the country! We would take way too long examining every tree and then the boys would “make all the difference” helping Dad saw the perfect one down. Those hacksaws were always so incredibly dull! Afterward, there were always baby rabbits in the barn (a favorite for everyone but especially my daughter) and a huge hot cocoa station. For me, those memories are what make the whole tree experience special. Perhaps that is what is missing for me now. I wonder if I could convince my husband to walk a farm in search of the perfect tree. I wonder if he would look through the local Christmas tree stand. In the rain. Um, probably not. But, that’s okay. This year, we have a tree. Actually, we have two!!:)