Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - The Tinseled Christmas Tree

Like so many, this is my favorite time of year (Thanksgiving through Christmas).  Rich with tradition, surrounded by faith, in the company of family, and saturated with the colors and smells of the season.  Because of all this, I have decided to participate in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.  I will be posting about specific holiday-related topics as prompted by this theme within GeneaBloggers.

Today’s writing prompt for the Advent Calendar is the Christmas Tree:  Did you have a real tree or was it artificial?  How big was the tree?  Who decorated the tree?  What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

One constant in our traditions of Christmas-time growing up, was the tree.  Sometimes it had been table-top size, while other times it towered so high that it looked like it pushed through the ceiling, but it was always a fresh, cut tree purchased from a lot.

Most years, it was Dad who would pick out the tree, tied it on the racks of the station wagon, and hauled it home.   After unwrapped from its tight netted cocoon, he’d set the tree in its stand and let it rest outside over night to allow the branches to relax.  If we were hasty and skipped this step, we’d find the ornamented branches resting on the floor by morning.

Frank's Daugter and Two Brothers
ca. 1961
 The tree always took main stage in the living room but a nice fire in the fireplace complimented the festive theme and added a homey bouquet of smoky pine.    Mom must have thought a fresh tree was a lot of trouble as she filled her vacuum bag with dried up the pine needles, but even she had to admit the fragrance was lovely.

We had a colorful selection of plastic and glass ornaments that we kids would race to hang on the tree.  Then, the icing on the cake or rather the tinsel (icicles) on the tree was the final touch.  The thin statically charged silver strands were pulled from their box and carefully draped over the branches.  It was taboo to drape more than a few strands in one spot and clumps were just not tolerated.  When the tree dried up and was disassembled, the icicles were carefully removed and laid to rest in their box and tucked away for another year.  

©2011 – Frank’s Daughter All Rights Reserved

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