Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Calendar- The Christmas Tree

 The Christmas tree has always been one of my favorite parts of  holiday decor. I would beg my parents to take down the tree from the attic and all the wonderful boxes of ornaments that would accompany it. My father would sigh and eventually give in and climb up into the attic where he would then hand down the boxes into my eagerly awaiting hands. My mother would then spend the next few hours agonizing over the lights. Sometimes breaking into tears of frustration after just getting them all onto the tree and then having a strand go out somewhere. Which then would cause my father to have to get in the car and make a trip to TG&Y to buy some more. It never failed. Each year a strand would go out despite my mother making us plug each one in before hand and do the jiggle test to see if they stayed lit.
My Parent's tree

When the tree was finally lit we then got to pull out all the satin balls, the homemade ornaments from school, the crochet ornaments, the elves, the santa's and the angels. After we had decorated my mother would often do a little rearranging and then came the sparkly icicles. I can still hear my mother say to remember to hang them straight. She loved the icicles. As she put them on she would worry that it would be a warm Christmas and we may have to turn the air conditioner on and that would ruin the icicles because they would be blown about and become tangled.
We would turn off the lights and sit there in silence staring at the tree. I loved this. It was so beautiful. I spent night after night laying under the tree staring up the branches. It was so pretty looking up the tree this way. I can remember the lights would get so hot and burn you if you were not careful. When I was dating my husband I would drag him under the tree with me and together we would just lay there looking at the lights.

My Grandparent's tree
My Mother's parents had the tree with the big bulbs and the tin reflectors. I loved to go see their tree. They had fluffy tinsel wound around the tree and all of the ornaments were old. I loved to look at them and hear the story of each of them. They had the same tree as my children were growing up and it was always a special treat for my kids to go and see their MaMaw and PaPaw L.'s tree. Today they are long gone, but my Aunt still has the tree and still puts it up in the same way. My daughter says it would not be Christmas without the tinsel.

My Father's mother was not too big on Christmas decorating. She often did not put up a tree at all. That is until I found it while I was playing hide and seek in a closet. I saw the boxes labeled ornaments and what I found when I opened them was a great surprise indeed. They were all the beautiful glass mercury ornaments that many collect today from the 1940's. Then I found the most amazing tree of all. It was a 6ft aluminum Christmas tree with the color wheel. I begged to put it up. She allowed me to and even to place the ornaments on the tree. It was such a beautiful sight that shiny silver tree with all those glass balls. Each year until she remarried and moved away, I put that tree up for her. I just wish I had thought to ask for the tree and the ornaments.

I did however receive the best Christmas gift from my husband a few years back. My very own shiny aluminum tree. It is only a four foot one. But it is all I need to bring back those memories of my Grandmother's house at Christmas. I even have been able to purchase some of the same mercury glass ornaments that I used to carefully hang on my Grandmother's tree.

I have no less than five trees in my house during the Christmas season. My husband groans each time that he catches me looking at some in the store, fearful that I may purchase another. I tell him that to me Christmas trees are not just a form of decoration, they are my memory keepers. Because each ornament hanging on them tells a tale. Each light lit upon the tree holds warm thoughts and memories of Christmas past and future. The tree gives us a reason in this busy age to all come together and gather round. It prompts memories and stories of childhood's long ago by those who sit near. For this reason I will gladly fill my house with Christmas trees.
My Christmas tree

This is the first blog in the series by GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2012.

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