Back in the day, it would be time to find a Christmas tree. Our folks would either go out into the woods and chop one down or more likely go off to a lot where they sold them
(and a lot cheaper then, too).
(and a lot cheaper then, too).
Once the live tree was roped to the top of the car it would come back home with us. Would it fall off the car before we arrived? Would it fit, would it hit the ceiling, its slender top tilting off to one side? Would Dad have to chop the top off? Would the star fit on top?
Wall St. Journal report 2012
The tree would next be fitted into the stand and screwed in place. This could be a tricky feat, as we had to hold it straight so that it would stand upright. Then the stand had to be watered, it was live, remember? But, up it would go. Often we would let it be for the night, letting it "settle."
Do you think Dad had a good drink beforehand?
Phase I : The lights. Those big clunky strands that would somehow not have been put back correctly the previous year ending up in a tangle. Dad and we got them all worked out and stationed along the branches. Put on the lights: oh, no, one bulb must be out!
And on and on and on....
I remember these bubble lights, too, though they were soon
replaced with the big colored ones.
Dad needs another drink....and the boys sneak out of the house.
Phase ll: the tinsel. Yep, the tinsel. You took it out of the original boxes where it had been recycled last year and packed away. No cheating now: no bunches flung in heaps. Delicately, strand by strand. Kneeling, pushing through the branches, reaching up and around. Suddenly, someone would yell the dreaded: "you missed a spot!". Finally, probably after an hour or more: done with the tinsel.
Little known facts about tinsel: from an old french word meaning sparkle, it used to be made of real silver (only for the rich), then it was made of aluminum (when we all got on board), and now: ready: polyvinyl chloride - translated - do not let your babies and animals chew it. Thanks to Humor me Blog for those tidbits.
About now Dad had another libation to keep from uttering words children, they thought, did not know. Dad may have even quit the process altogether. Up to us and Mom now. Looking for ornaments in their old boxes which had sunk in tops from being used year after year. Mom and us commenced to decorate the tree, finishing with a satisfying sigh...
The house was now scented with that beautiful smell of pines, no spray cans needed, thank you. The glow of the lights reflected off the ornaments and tinsel and also our hearts. The rest of the house lights went out and, job well done, we sat and listened to the memories of earlier Christmas days. We remembered loved ones gone, while visions of sugar plums danced in the minds of we children, for the celebration to come....and the presents (not too many) that would lie at the foot of our tree.
Somehow a quick pre-decorated tree does not do it.....it was all
part of a seamless ceremony, those twelve days of Christmas.
This year even more hugs for grandchildren.....and gratitude for the innocence of
the Christmases we had as youngsters in our very own Village...safe.