Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent #1: The Christmas Tree

My dear friend maintains a genealogy blog which I love to read. First of all, my friend is a fantastic writer. Her style is very personable and inviting. Secondly, I like her ancestors a lot better than I like mine. Her ancestors are out there just waiting to be found. My ancestors make me wonder if perhaps my parents were telling the truth when they said they found me on the side of a cactus and when they went back 3 years later, they found my brother.

My friend is currently doing an Advent calendar series on her blog, the idea for which she got off the Geneabloggers website. I have been enjoying her memories of Christmases past so much I decided I wanted to play too. Of course, I was supposed to start this on December 1, so I have some catching up to do!

The topic for December 1st was the Christmas tree. Growing up, we had such wonderful Christmas trees. Every year, Dad would go out to the woods and come back with this huge tree. He would always end up cutting the end off the tree about 3 times before it would fit in the house. Mom would put up the lights and we would help decorate.

My senior year of high school, Dad let my brother, my (then) step-brother and I go out into the woods behind our house to cut down the tree. "Don't get one that is 12' tall," he said. We assured him the tree we brought home would fit perfectly into the house. And it did. After we cut about 3 feet off the bottom (As they say, the apple doesn't fall very far...).

While I was in college, my sorority had a beautiful tree every year. The pledges would be taken to a classroom in the the freezing cold UCC Building to study for our pledge test or to work on our plaques for our sis-moms (big sister). Meanwhile, everyone else would be busy decorating the tree to surprise us and would be outside singing carols to greet us when we came back over the hill. It was up to the member in charge of the pledges for the morning to try to convince the pledges the tree decorating was not happening. We had scrapbooks-we all knew about the tree. So it wasn't much of a surprise, but it was a great tradition.

When I graduated and moved to Portland, I was shocked to find out that people here didn't just go into the woods and cut them down. That here, you have to pay for them and get them from a lot. (Kind of makes me wonder if we had illegal trees my entire childhood). Out of protest, I bought a small (about 1 1/2' tall) fake tree from Kmart. It was so small my string of 35 lights was almost too much for it. Living in an apartment, however, I needed something easy to store and it was just me so it didn't need to be fancy.

When James and I bought our first house, I was excited to have a real Christmas tree again. We put up lights outside and we got a small tree. And we quickly learned that a Christmas tree and two puppies were not a good combination-especially when the puppies like to eat the tree. So, that put a stop to my having a tree as I had given my little fake one to Goodwill.

We didn't have a tree again until our second year in this house, which was 2006. We moved in in October 2005 so the holidays that year got lost in the shuffle of us getting settled. In 2006, I was going to host December bunco and I really wanted a tree. We decided that we could put a small one up on the shelf above the fireplace-out of reach of the dogs. We measured how much space we had and bought a small tree from the church up the street. It was small enough that we were able to bring it home in the trunk of my Lancer. And it was still too big. By the time we trimmed it down to fit, it looked more like a shrub than a tree. We got quite the chuckle out of our Christmas shrub and did a lot better job of getting a tree in 2007.

The Christmas shrub of 2006

Last year was my first Christmas without James. I decided at the last minute to try to get in the spirit of things and bought a small tree from Lowe's, which I was going to plant in the backyard but ended up killing. Plants that come to live with me do not have a very high survival rate. I wasn't ready to try to get a small tree/shrub on my own last year and now that I think about it, I am not sure I am ready this year either. But this weekend, I plan to try.

It would have grown up to be a tree. (2008)

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Ahhh, aren't you sweet! Thanks for the very nice compliment.

I think your trees are great! And trees always look bigger outdoors....even from the tree lot. :)