A Christmas Memory #3….The Tree


I’ve been told, by my older siblings that when they were little, they would head to bed on Christmas Eve with a bare tree standing on a bare platform in the living room awaiting Santa’s touch. As they slept, he not only delivered the presents but also put all the lights and ornaments on the tree and set up the houses and trains below so that when they emerged groggy eyed on Christmas morning they would get the full effect. I can see where this would be an exciting and magical for a child to start their Christmas Day, however…

I’ve (also) been told, by my mom and dad that when my sibling were little there were many Christmas Eve’s when they never actually made it bed! My dad usually tackled the platform and any gifts that needed to be assembled while mom did the tree. If they were lucky, neighbors or family would stop by to help but most times they were busy at home with the same task. From what I’ve heard, there was a fair amount of treats and “good cheer” flowing as well. I suppose they did need something to keep them motivated.


By the time I came along (12 years after my oldest sister) my parents had pretty much burned themselves out on that whole “putting the tree up on Christmas Eve” nonsense and, since my birthday was just a few days before Christmas, we began a new tradition of having the tree up in time for that. I always felt like the tree was part of my birthday celebration. It is still my favorite part of the holiday season.

When I was around 12 or 13, it became my job to go with my dad to pick out our tree. I think my mom had run out of patience years earlier and was eager to step aside. Usually we started at the closest lot, sized up a dozen or so newly cut trees, testing branch strength and freshness, making sure the trunk was straight and not too wide for the stand. Dad would haggle a bit with the tree guy and then decide none of the trees at that lot was good enough. We then performed the same routine at  a half a dozen other tree lots, testing and haggling. Inevitably, we’d end up back at the very first lot with the very first tree we had sized up back at the beginning!

This weekend, D-man and I ventured out to the tree farm where our son has been working for the last few holiday seasons, to pick out our tree. We don’t do artificial trees. Never. Nor do my sisters. That’s just the way it is. We have two small artificial trees elsewhere in the house but the main tree has to be real. To me, each Christmas tree is unique and has its own personality. I don’t want it to be perfect and I certainly don’t want it to be just the same as last year’s. Where’s the fun in that.

I know that artificial trees have all kinds of advantages. Believe me, I think about that when I’m still discovering pine needles in February. Certainly, they’re more convenient and the branches are all strong and even. The symmetry certainly appeals to my perfectionist tendency but the fact is that nothing brings back Christmas memories for me faster than the smell of a live tree. All I need to do is open my bedroom door each morning and let that scent wash over me. Suddenly I’m a kid again back at that Christmas tree lot, rating trees with my dad, strapping it to the roof of our Ford with much more rope than was probably necessary, and singing Christmas caroles all the way home at the top of my lungs. In short, Christmas is once again filled with magic.


Christmas Postathon Days 19 and 20

I dropped the ball yesterday and never got to Day 19. My excuse is that I was busy celebrating my birthday and never even turned on the computer! Yesterday and today’s prompts work very well as a team anyway. So here goes…

The Christmas Tree

White Lights or Colored lights?

This is actually perfect timing because at this moment there is an unadorned tree sitting in the living room waiting to be decorated. It will have, as it does every year, colored lights. It’s not that I have anything against white lights, in fact I think they are very pretty, it’s just that we’ve used colored ones for as long as I can remember so it’s kind of a tradition.

Now, for the tree, itself, it seems that most families have traditions involving that too; who pickles it out, who puts on the lights, who decorates it. In our family, hubby usually go and gets the tree. Miss Dee has been going with him the last few years and they’ve been getting it from the tree farm where Mr D works.

My job is to put on the lights. This became my job by default because no one else does it the way I like it. Since I’m being so fussy, I get to do it! Then we all decorate the tree together.

Everyone has ornaments that were given especially to them so those are the ones they put on. I have many that belonged to my grandmother or that I purchased before I got married. Hubby has lots of Eagles ornaments and others that he has collected over the years and of course each child has received many over the years.

We always keep the tree lights off while we decorate then after we are done we turn off all the house lights and turn on the tree. Of course we have to stand there and “Oooo” and “Ahhh” for a bit, appreciating our hard work.

Between you and me, I sometimes move some of the ornaments around when no one is looking. When the kids were little I had to do this because all the ornament were squashed onto the bottom half of the tree. I still do it because, again, I’m fussy.😊 Besides, for some reason all of the Eagles ornaments seem to end up front and center! I can usually find a much better spot around the side…on the bottom.

When I was young, my father was in charge of picking out the tree. My dad, how ever was both a procrastinator and very frugal so you can probably imagine the trees we had growing up! The one below is from 1963, the year I turned one. That’s my cute little rocking horse off to the left. As you can see, the tree is a tiny bit too tall! Dad was also known to drill holes in the trunk and “add” branches in the bare spots!  My mom, the Queen of Tinsle, always managed to make them look pretty anyway.


I mean, let’s face it, all Christmas trees are beautiful. It’s part of the magic.🎄

Christmas Postathon Day 14

Christmas Scentsimage

Is there anything that can trigger a memory faster than the sense of smell? Just one whiff of some special scent and you are immediately transported to a different place and time.  The smell of Black Cherry tobacco always reminds me of my grandfather and anytime I smell leather I think of my high school boyfriend. As for Christmas? Well, that has an assortment of smells all its own.

For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the aroma of a live pine tree. I know that live trees are a lot more bother and expense but I can’t imagine not smelling the tree on Christmas morning before I even see the gifts. Growing up, our house was very small so the scent of pine was in every room. No matter where you were, eyes open or closed, you knew what time of year it was.

Fortunately, my Hubby feels the same so he doesn’t mind hauling the tree in and sawing off the base (which is also very aromatic). My kids are purists too. They would insist on a live tree even if we didn’t.

Of course you have to make sure it has water and you can’t keep it up as long as an artificial tree, and then there’s the mess of needles when you drag it outside, but that’s a small price to pay.  The minute the tree goes up I breath in and all my childhood Christmases are right there in front of me.

There are many other scents that remind me of Christmas too. What’s your favorite?