By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member
The Christmas Tree: Green, pretty lights, Santa puts gifts under them, pretty simple; you’d think, see one you’ve seen them all. Wrong!
Growing up we always had a fairly traditional tree, tall, spaces between the branches for hanging ornaments with the old 5 watt bulb lights. Mother used to put aluminum foil around the base of the bulb so it wouldn’t touch the tree and possibly start a fire.
Of course there’s the tree topper: Angel or star? Tough decision; it was always star growing up but since starting my own family it’s been both depending on my wife’s mood.
Mother would spend some time at the Christmas tree place to pick out just the right tree, no bare spots, and must reach to almost the ceiling! Then when it was set up and the lights strung we kids would get to help decorate; mother would hand us the ornaments and help direct us as to where to put them.
Then came those aluminum trees with the color wheels. Some of the trees were even different colors, like pink or orange etc, lots of folks seemed to like them. I did not! Got to have a traditional green tree with multi colored lights.
In 1967 I was working part time after school, making a dollar an hour bagging groceries, and one day Mom said she wanted an artificial tree. All I could think of was those silver aluminum ones! So I said okay, but I’ll pick it out! She said, if you pick it out, you pay for it. That’s how one July day in 1967 we went to a Christmas store and I spent $120 on an artificial tree. That was a lot of money but it looked great, just a real hassle to assemble; each branch is color coded and you insert them one at a time from the bottom up!
After getting married and having children of my own, we’ve had lots of different types of trees. For a long time we had to have a natural tree, in October we’d go “tag” a tree at the Christmas tree farm, then go back and cut it down the day after Thanksgiving. We had some ornaments from my family and hers along with new ones purchased over the years. One year we even had the “country” tree complete with popcorn and cranberries strung as garland, and hand made ornaments from the kids.
Now we have an artificial tree. It comes in three sections, is pre-lit, and takes all of ten minutes to set it up. Not the natural tree that I’d prefer but I must admit to having gotten older, and I like the easier part and at least it looks real!
Growing up, we put ours up one week before Christmas and it stayed up until January 2nd. Now I like to start the season early and begin feeling the Christmas spirit so it goes up the day after Thanksgiving and it comes down sometime around New Years. The advantage of the artificial tree; they last longer!
My wife does the tree trimming. She is into the whole Victorian look, to match our home, and I must admit she does a great job! And that 1967 tree? I set that up on the front porch and it still looks great!
Real or artificial; green or silver; star or angel; blinking lights or not; set up early or close to the day! Makes no difference. one of the great things about traditions, everyone has their own and there is no right or wrong.
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