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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas trees’

(A compilation of Christmas tree stories I’ve posted throughout the years, and then some.)

We had always had real Christmas trees, not an  artificial one.  That’s how it was when I was a child and when I married, we always got real ones too.

In November of 1992, my husband left home, leaving the three kids and me behind.  When it was time to go out to get our tree the following month, the three kids and I went out and bought a real tree.  We always had a big 7 foot tree in that house so that’s what I picked out that year.  The guys at the Christmas tree lot tied it to the top of the car for us and we drove home.  When we got home, it became obvious that we had a problem.  First, in their infinite wisdom, the guys had tied the tree to the open windows of my station wagon.  We couldn’t get the doors open.  My son climbed out the window and went in and got some scissors to let us out of the car. By the time he got out, the girls had also climbed out their windows and I was the only one waiting, patiently, to be let out.  He didn’t cut the whole rope/twine.  He just pulled on it to get the door open enough for me to get out and cut one bit of the twine.  Then we had another problem.  The tree was too big and heavy for the kids and I to take it off the top of the car.  We couldn’t even reach it.  I went inside and called friends and a couple of the neighbors but no one was home or couldn’t help for one reason or another.  I called the kids’ dad but he said he wouldn’t come until the next time it was his turn to get the kids, in a few days.  I couldn’t leave the tree up there and drive all over town with it that way for three days.  Finally one friend called back and said her husband could come but not until the next day so the tree stayed on the car over night and in the morning, I drove the kids to school with the tree on top of the car.  I also picked them up after school with it up there.  Finally, my friend and her husband came and got it in the house for us.  It’s a good thing it was very cold or the poor tree would have died!

That was the last time we had a real Christmas tree for a long time.  The following year I debated about having a real tree or an artificial one and remembered all the hassle it had caused to get a real tree so I went to the local drug store and found a fairly decent one that was on sale and took that home.  The kids helped me set it up and decorate it but it wasn’t the same.  They accepted the artificial tree but missed having a real one.  However, it was nice to have a tree that we could set up year after year without having to cut one down each year.  When the fake tree got old and too tattered, it was replaced with another fake tree and the tattered one was donated to the school to use in the cafeteria.

In December of 2004, it was just my youngest (she was 14 then) and me left to set up the tree because she wanted to set it up before her brother and sister arrived on December 23rd.  We set up the artificial tree and decorated it.  She decided we didn’t have enough ornaments on it so we took a drive to Target to get a few more.  However, we walked out of Target with a new artificial tree!  Susie had fallen in love with a white pre-lit Christmas tree.  She also decided she wanted only blue and green decorations on the tree so we had to get a whole tree worth of green and blue ball ornaments and icicle ornaments.  I laughed because she decided she wanted that one and moved heaven and earth to get it.  She got someone there to agree that the tree should be a markdown item so we got the $150 tree for 60% off!  And it was gorgeous.  She even paid for the new green and blue ornaments with her money so I wouldn’t say it was too expensive.  She didn’t want to use the multicolored decorations we had because they would ruin her new tree.  All this she got away with because she looks at me oh-so-sweetly and smiles at me and hugs me and calls me “Mommy”.  And if that doesn’t work, she reminds me that she’s my “baby”.  Yup.  She knows how to work it!

We got home and had to take the green artificial tree down before we could even bring the white tree inside from the car and set it up.  It was a lot of work and although the white tree was sixty per cent off, it was still expensive but Susie was happy.  I made sure she helped take the green tree down and set up the white tree.  As far as decorating it, she took charge of the whole thing which was good because in previous years she had not shown much interest in helping to set it up!

For Christmas of 2006, my older daughter Tina, had moved to Santa Rosa near her sister and me.   One weekend, her roommate’s boyfriend took the girls up to the nearby mountains to cut a tree.  Tina loved it and insisted that we should go out and cut a tree for my house.  We had never done that, although we had spoken of doing it several times.  However, we didn’t have anyone to go with us to get the tree and actually cut if for us as the friend that had done it for the girls lived an hour away.

The next day, my son came over with his girlfriend. We were making tamales so she could learn to make them.  Tony’s girlfriend drives a small truck and that’s what they had come to visit us on.  Tina and Susie weren’t sure if they liked Sarah.  They hadn’t spent much time with her.  That day they got to know her and liked her.  Tina felt comfortable asking her if she’d take us to go get the Christmas tree.  She agreed.

So off we went in two cars, Sarah’s truck and my car because there were too many of us to go in the truck.  We got to the tree lot up in the mountains just before closing, when it was almost completely dark.  The owner let us on the lot to see if we could find a tree in the dark.  The girls kept running from one tree to the next, finding fault with every one of them until they came upon a very large tree that they agreed on.  Not having done this before, it did not occur to us that the tree would look a lot smaller than it really was when it was out in the open.  We didn’t compensate for that.  Tony cut the tree down and tied it to Sarah’s truck and we all headed home.

When we got home, the tree was too tall for the living room.  Tony ended up having to chop off about eighteen inches.  He stood it up in the living room and then we realized that not only was it very tall, it was also very big around.  It literally took up half the width of the living room with very little room on either side.  By the time the tree was set up and ready to decorate, the girls had lost interest in decorating it and Tony and Sarah had left to her family’s Christmas party.  The poor tree stood undecorated in the living room for several days.  Finally, on December 23, I threatened to not give the girls any of the gifts I had for them if the tree did not get decorated that night.  The tree was as beautiful decorated as it was too big for the room. It was gorgeous and we had learned that next time, if there ever was a next time, we would be sure to measure the tree before cutting it down.

The year Tina and I moved to Oregon, 2008,  Tina wanted to go out and cut down a tree.  I had my doubts that it would actually happen even though we live in the middle of many “cut your own” tree lots.  As luck would have it, the Arctic Blast storm intervened with Tina’s plans and we could not go out and get one.  It began to snow on Dec. 14th that year and didn’t stop until the 26th.  I could not even leave my driveway!  So I pulled out the artificial tree that I had thought to get when Tina and I had gone to Target on Black Friday.  It was the exact same tree kind of tree we had in Santa Rosa, a white pre-lit tree.  And although that Christmas almost didn’t happen for us, because of flights being canceled, when they finally arrived, we had a tree.

One very moving thing that happened when I posted my Christmas tree story in 2009 is that one of my readers contacted me about a tree.  I had posted that we probably would not have a tree that year because we were leaving town on the 20th and would not return home til the 27th.  That year, I knew it was a good chance that it would be our last year together at Christmas (with the family going off in different directions) and after the near debacle of the previous Christmas, I had rented a house in California, which had been home for many years.  My kids all had ties there and one of them lived there so it made sense to go there for Christmas.  However that meant that we would have no tree.  My reader lives in the Portland area and offered a small artificial tree that I could have to take with me to California.  It was great!  We met in the Target parking lot near the airport when she went to pick up her husband.  The tree was not only pre-lit but also had music and rotating base.  It was great!  We enjoyed it and then left it behind for the next family.

Christmas 2013

My grandson, Anderson, was three years old and loved the big Christmas tree they had at home, one we had gone out together to cut down.  I had decided I was not going to put up my tree because it was just too much work and it was only me at home.  No one was coming for Christmas.  Instead, I would go to my daughter’s house (she lives about a block away from me) for Christmas.  So no tree.  However, Anderson kept asking me where my tree was.  I kept telling him “no tree at Nana’s house this year” but he kept asking.  One day, less than a week til Christmas, we were at Big Lots and he saw a white pre-lit tree he liked.  It was only about 3 feet tall and because it was so late in the season, it was on clearance.  I think it was all of $10.  He kept saying “crammus tree for Nana’s house please”.  So we got it and he picked out gold and red ball ornaments.  We took it home and I set it up for him and he got to put the ornaments on the tree.  He even plugged the tree in for me to light it up.  He loved that tree and every time he came over, he would run to the tree and plug it in for me.  I even kept it up for an extra week or two because he loved it so much.

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Oh! Christmas Trees

I can often empathize with a blogging friend, Bibliomom.  As a single mom of two, she is going through an awful lot of things that I have had to deal with in my life.  She once posted a picture of the Christmas tree she bought only to find out that it was a lot bigger than it had looked when she picked it out.  She had trouble getting it inside her door.

This reminded me of the last Christmas my kids and I had a real tree for a long, long time.  Parts of this have been posted previously but I am adding some other Christmas tree memories.

We had always had real Christmas trees, not an  artificial one.  That’s how it was when I was a child and when I married, we always got real ones too.

In November of 1992, my husband left home, leaving the three kids and me behind.  When it was time to go out to get our tree the following month, the three kids and I went out and bought a real tree.  We always had a big 7 foot tree in that house so that’s what I picked out that year.  The guys at the Christmas tree lot tied it to the top of the car for us and we drove home.  When we got home, it became obvious that we had a problem.  First, in their infinite wisdom, the guys had tied the tree to the open windows of my station wagon.  We couldn’t get the doors open.  My son climbed out the window and went in and got some scissors to let us out of the car. By the time he got out, the girls had also climbed out their windows and I was the only one waiting, patiently, to be let out.  He didn’t cut the whole rope/twine.  He just pulled on it to get the door open enough for me to get out and cut one bit of the twine.  Then we had another problem.  The tree was too big and heavy for the kids and I to take it off the top of the car.  We couldn’t even reach it.  I went inside and called friends and a couple of the neighbors but no one was home or couldn’t help for one reason or another.  I called the kids’ dad but he said he wouldn’t come until the next time it was his turn to get the kids, in a few days.  I couldn’t leave the tree up there and drive all over town with it that way for three days.  Finally one friend called back and said her husband could come but not until the next day so the tree stayed on the car over night and in the morning, I drove the kids to school with the tree on top of the car.  I also picked them up after school with it up there.  Finally, my friend and her husband came and got it in the house for us.  It’s a good thing it was very cold or the poor tree would have died!

That was the last time we had a real Christmas tree for a long time.  The following year I debated about having a real tree or an artificial one and remembered all the hassle it had caused to get a real tree so I went to the local drug store and found a fairly decent one that was on sale and took that home.  The kids helped me set it up and decorate it but it wasn’t the same.  They accepted the artificial tree but missed having a real one.  However, it was nice to have a tree that we could set up year after year without having to cut one down each year.  When the fake tree got old and too tattered, it was replaced with another fake tree and the tattered one was donated to the school to use in the cafeteria.

In December of 2004, it was just my youngest (she was 14 then) and me left to set up the tree because she wanted to set it up before her brother and sister arrived on December 23rd.  We set up the artificial tree and decorated it.  She decided we didn’t have enough ornaments on it so we took a drive to Target to get a few more.  However, we walked out of Target with a new artificial tree!  Susie had fallen in love with a white pre-lit Christmas tree.  She also decided she wanted only blue and green decorations on the tree so we had to get a whole tree worth of green and blue ball ornaments and icicle ornaments.  I laughed because she decided she wanted that one and moved heaven and earth to get it.  She got someone there to agree that the tree should be a markdown item so we got the $150 tree for 60% off!  And it was gorgeous.  She even paid for the new green and blue ornaments with her money so I wouldn’t say it was too expensive.  She didn’t want to use the multicolored decorations we had because they would ruin her new tree.  All this she got away with because she looks at me oh-so-sweetly and smiles at me and hugs me and calls me “Mommy”.  And if that doesn’t work, she reminds me that she’s my “baby”.  Yup.  She knows how to work it!

We got home and had to take the green artificial tree down before we could even bring the white tree inside from the car and set it up.  It was a lot of work and although the white tree was sixty per cent off, it was still expensive but Susie was happy.  I made sure she helped take the green tree down and set up the white tree.  As far as decorating it, she took charge of the whole thing which was good because in previous years she had not shown much interest in helping to set it up!

For Christmas of 2006, my older daughter Tina, had moved to Santa Rosa near her sister and me.   One weekend, her roommate’s boyfriend took the girls up to the nearby mountains to cut a tree.  Tina loved it and insisted that we should go out and cut a tree for my house.  We had never done that, although we had spoken of doing it several times.  However, we didn’t have anyone to go with us to get the tree and actually cut if for us as the friend that had done it for the girls lived an hour away.

The next day, my son came over with his girlfriend. We were making tamales so she could learn to make them.  Tony’s girlfriend drives a small truck and that’s what they had come to visit us on.  Tina and Susie weren’t sure if they liked Sarah.  They hadn’t spent much time with her.  That day they got to know her and liked her.  Tina felt comfortable asking her if she’d take us to go get the Christmas tree.  She agreed.

So off we went in two cars, Sarah’s truck and my car because there were too many of us to go in the truck.  We got to the tree lot up in the mountains just before closing, when it was almost completely dark.  The owner let us on the lot to see if we could find a tree in the dark.  The girls kept running from one tree to the next, finding fault with every one of them until they came upon a very large tree that they agreed on.  Not having done this before, it did not occur to us that the tree would look a lot smaller than it really was when it was out in the open.  We didn’t compensate for that.  Tony cut the tree down and tied it to Sarah’s truck and we all headed home.

When we got home, the tree was too tall for the living room.  Tony ended up having to chop off about eighteen inches.  He stood it up in the living room and then we realized that not only was it very tall, it was also very big around.  It literally took up half the width of the living room with very little room on either side.  By the time the tree was set up and ready to decorate, the girls had lost interest in decorating it and Tony and Sarah had left to her family’s Christmas party.  The poor tree stood undecorated in the living room for several days.  Finally, on December 23, I threatened to not give the girls any of the gifts I had for them if the tree did not get decorated that night.  The tree was as beautiful decorated as it was too big for the room. It was gorgeous and we had learned that next time, if there ever was a next time, we would be sure to measure the tree before cutting it down.

The year Tina and I moved to Oregon, 2008,  Tina wanted to go out and cut down a tree.  I had my doubts that it would actually happen even though we live in the middle of many “cut your own” tree lots.  As luck would have it, the Arctic Blast storm intervened with Tina’s plans and we could not go out and get one.  It began to snow on Dec. 14th that year and didn’t stop until the 26th.  I could not even leave my driveway!  So I pulled out the artificial tree that I had thought to get when Tina and I had gone to Target on Black Friday.  It was the exact same tree kind of tree we had in Santa Rosa, a white pre-lit tree.  And although that Christmas almost didn’t happen for us, because of flights being canceled, when they finally arrived, we had a tree.

One very moving thing that happened when I posted my Christmas tree story in 2009 is that one of my readers contacted me about a tree.  I had posted that we probably would not have a tree that year because we were leaving town on the 20th and would not return home til the 27th.  That year, I knew it was a good chance that it would be our last year together at Christmas (with the family going off in different directions) and after the near debacle of the previous Christmas, I had rented a house in California, which had been home for many years.  My kids all had ties there and one of them lived there so it made sense to go there for Christmas.  However that meant that we would have no tree.  My reader lives in the Portland area and offered a small artificial tree that I could have to take with me to California.  It was great!  We met in the Target parking lot near the airport when she went to pick up her husband.  The tree was not only pre-lit but also had music and rotating base.  It was great!  We enjoyed it and then left it behind for the next family.

This year, I am waiting for my daughter’s help to get my artificial tree out of my shed so I can set it up.  It will be the same white pre-lit tree which has become my favorite tree.

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I can often empathize with my friend, Bibliomom.  As a single mom of two, she is going through an awful lot of things that I have had to deal with in my life.  This weekend she posted a picture of the Christmas tree she bought only to find out that it was a lot bigger than it had looked when she picked it out.  She had trouble getting it inside her door.

This reminded me of the last Christmas my kids and I had a real tree for a long, long time.  I did post this last year so you may remember it if you’ve been with me for a while.  I’m cutting and pasting a couple of Christmas tree stories here for you.  I hope you enjoy them.

We had always had real Christmas trees, not artificial on.  That’s how it was when I was a child and when I married, we always got real ones too.

In November of 1992, my husband left home, leaving the three kids and me behind.  When it was time to go out to get our tree the following month, the three kids and I went out and bought a real tree.  We always had a big 7 foot tree in that house so that’s what I picked out that year.  The guys at the Christmas tree lot tied it to the top of the car for us and we drove home.  When we got home, it became obvious that we had a problem.  First, in their infinite wisdom, the guys had tied the tree to the open windows of my station wagon.  We couldn’t get the doors open.  My son climbed out the window and went in and got some scissors to let us out of the car. By the time he got out, the girls had also climbed out their windows and I was the only one waiting, patiently, to be let out.  He didn’t cut the whole rope/twine.  He just pulled on it to get the door open enough for me to get out and cut one bit of the twine.  Then we had another problem.  The tree was too big and heavy for the kids and I to take it offf the top of the car.  We couldn’t even reach it.  I went inside and called friends and a couple of the neighbors but no one was home or couldn’t help for one reason or another.  I called the kids’ dad but he said he wouldn’t come until the next time it was his turn to get the kids, in a few days.  I couldn’t leave the tree up there and drive all over town with it that way for three days.  Finally one friend called back and said her husband could come but not until the next day so the tree stayed on the car over night and in the morning, I drove the kids to school with the tree on top of the car.  I also picked them up after school with it up there.  Finally, my friend and her husband came and got it in the house for us.  It’s a good thing it was very cold or the poor tree would have died!

That was the last time we had a real Christmas tree for a long time.  The following year I debated about having a real tree or an artificial one and remembered all the hassle it had caused to get a real tree so I went to the local drug store and found a fairly decent one that was on sale and took that home.  The kids helped me set it up and decorate it but it wasn’t the same.  They accepted the artificial tree but missed having a real one.  However, it was nice to have a tree that we could set up year after year without having to cut one down each year.  When the fake tree got old and too tattered, it was replaced with another fake tree and the tattered one was donated to the school to use in the cafeteria.

In December of 2004, it was just my youngest (she was 14 then) and me left to set up the tree because she wanted to set it up before her brother and sister arrived on December 23rd.  We set up the artificial tree and decorated it.  She decided we didn’t have enough ornaments on it so we took a drive to Target to get a few more.  However, we walked out of Target with a new artificial tree!  Susie had fallen in love with a white pre-lit Christmas tree.  She also decided she wanted only blue and gree decorations on the tree so we had to get a whole tree worth of green and blue ball ornaments and icicle ornaments.  I laughed because she decided she wanted that one and moved heaven and earth to get it.  She got someone there to agree that the tree should be a markdown item so we got the $150 tree for 60% off!  And it was gorgeous.  She even paid for the new green and blue ornaments with her money so I wouldn’t say it was too expensive.  She didn’t want to use the multicolored decorations we had because they would ruin her new tree.  All this she got away with because she looks at me really sweetly and smiles at me and hugs me and calls me “Mommy”.  And if that doesn’t work, she reminds me that she’s my “baby”.  Yup.  She knows how to work it!

We got home and had to take the green artificial tree down before we could even bring the white tree inside from the car and set it up.  It was a lot of work and although the white tree was sixty per cent off, it was still expensive but Susie was happy.  I made sure she helped take the green tree down and set up the white tree.  As far as decorating it, she took charge of the whole thing which was good because in previous years she had not shown much interest in helping to set it up!

This year, I don’t think I am even going to put up the tree.  We won’t be here for Christmas.  I’ll be leaving almost a week before Christmas and returning a few days after.  I’m hoping to be able to find a small tree that we can set up at the house I rented for us.  I don’t know though.  Today I almost called the neighbor to get the fake white tree out of my garage so I could set it up.  It was that kind of a blistery, cold, winter day.

Let’s see if I can avoid setting it up because it isn’t just setting it up, it’s also tearing it down and I know I won’t have anyone to help me.

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For Christmas of 2006, my older daughter Tina, had moved to Santa Rosa near her sister and me.   One weekend, her roommate’s boyfriend took the girls up to the nearby mountains to cut a tree.  Tina loved it and insisted that we should to out and cut a tree for my house.  We had never done that, although we had spoken of doing it several times.  However, we didn’t have anyone to go with us to get the tree and actually cut if for us as the friend that had done it for the girls lived an hour away.

The next day, my son came over with his girlfriend. We were making tamales so she could learn to make them.  Tony’s girlfrined drives a small truck and that’s what they had come to visit us on.  Tina and Susie weren’t sure if they liked Sarah.  They hadn’t spent much time with her.  That day they got to know her and liked her.  Tina felt comfortable asking her if she’d take us to go get the Christmas tree.  She agreed.

So off we went in two cars, Sarah’s truck and my car because there were too many of us to go in the truck.  We got to the tree lot up in the mountains just before closing, when it was almost completely dark.  The owner let us on the lot to see if we could find a tree in the dark.  The girls kept running from one tree to the next, finding fault with every one of them until they came upon a very large tree that they agreed on.  Having not done this before, we did not know that the tree would look a lot smaller than it really was when it was out in the open.  We didn’t compensate for that.  Tony cut the tree down and tied it to Sarah’s truck and we all headed home.

When we got home, the tree was too big too tall for the living room.  Tony ended having to chop off about eighteen inches.  He stood it up in the living room and then we realized that not only was it very tall, it was also very big around.  It literally took up half the width of the living room with very little room on either side.  By the time the tree was set up and ready to decorate, the girls had lost interest in decorating it and Tony and Sarah had left to her family’s Christmas party.  The poor tree stood undecorated in the living room for several days.  Finally, on December 23, I threatened to not give the girls any of the presents I had bought for them if the tree did not get decorated!

The tree was a beautiful decorated as it was too big for the room.  This year Tina wanted to go out and cut down a tree.  I didn’t think it was going to happen even though we live in the middle of many “cut your own” tree lots.  As luck would have it, the Arctic Blast storm intervened with Tina’s plans and we could not go out and get one.

I have my newly purchased artificial tree and Tina doesn’t have one at all at her apartment.  If the weather doesn’t improve, there won’t be anyone to see the tree in my living room except me!

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Christmas Trees~Part 2

In December of 2004, it was just my youngest (she was 14 then) and me left to set up the tree because she wanted to set it up before her brother and sister arrived just a couple of days before Christmas.  We set up the artificial tree and decorated it.  She decided we didn’t have enough ornaments on it so we took a drive to Target to get a few more.  However, we walked out of Target with a new artificial tree!  Susie had fallen in love with a white pre-lit Christmas tree.  She also decided she wanted only blue and gree decorations on the tree so we had to get a whole tree worth of green and blue ball ornaments and icicle ornaments.

We got home and had to take the green artificail tree down before we could even bring the white tree inside from the car and set it up.  It was a lot of work and although the white tree was fifty per cent off, it was still expensive but Susie was happy.  I made sure she helped take the green tree down and set up the white tree.  As far as decorating it, she took charge of the whole thing which was good because in previous years she had not shown much interest in helping to set it up!

That tree was left behind in California when I moved.  It was too heavy and I didn’t have room to bring it so, hopefully, some family is enjoying it this year.  When I had to get a new tree this year, as mentioned in part one, I ended up at Target and I bought the same white tree Susie had picked out four years ago.  Hopefully she’ll make it through this horrible weather and will appreciate that her mom got a tree she knew Susie loved!

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We had always had real Christmas trees, not artificial on.  That’s how it was when I was a child and when I married, we always got real ones too.

In November of 1992, my husbvand left home.  When it was time to ge out tree the following month, the three kids and I went out and bought a real tree.  A big 7 foot tree like we always bought.  The guys at the Christmas tree lot tied it to the top of the car for us and we drove home.  That’s when the problem became obvious.  The tree was too big and heavy for the kids an dI to take it offf the top of the car.  We couldn’t even reach it.  I went inside and called friends and a couple of the neighbors but no one was home or couldn’t help for one reason or another.  I called the kids’ dad but he said he couldn’t come help, at least for a couple of days.  I couldn’t leave the tree up there and drive all over town with it that way for two days.  Finally one friend called back and said her husband could come but not until the next day so the tree stayed on the car over night and in the morning, my friend and her husband came and got it in the house for us.

That was the last time we had a real Christmas tree for a long time.  The following year I debated about having a real tree or an artificial one and remembered all the hassle it had caused to get a real tree so I went to the local drug store and found a fairly decent one that was on sale and took that home.  The kids helped me set it up and decorate it but it wasn’t the same.  They accepted the artificial tree but missed having a real one.  However, it was nice to have a tree that we could set up year after year without having to cut one down each year.  When the fake tree got old and too tattered, it was replaced with another fake tree and the tattered one was donated to the school.

As I type this, I am getting ready to decorate the latest of the artificial trees, purchased a few hours ago because I didn’t bring mine with me when I moved in the summer.  I considered getting a real tree this year.  I live in the midst of a number of lots where you cut your own fresh tree and I was going to do that however I don’t have anyone to help me cut it down or tie it to my car or bring it in the house.  I was sure I would end up dragging the tree home after it fell off of the roof of my car.  Then I considered getting a cut one at a lot but that wouldn’t work either because I would still have the no help problem.  I figured in the end that I should get a fake tree because the no help problem isn’t going to change.

Tomorrow you’ll get a couple more Christmas tree stories but now I have to go decorate the tree and turn the heat up.  It’s getting pretty cold in here.

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My family had always had real Christmas trees, not artificial. As a child I wanted an artificial one because of the fact that we never had one. My parents would go out in the car and come back with a tree tied to the top of the car. We didn’t even get to go when it was picked out.

When I got married, we always got real ones too. By that time, I didn’t want an artificial one. Just the very word “artificial” turned me off. I remember the tree we got the first year we were married. We didn’t have money. We had married in September and I had lost my job in November. My husband wasn’t working. He was studying for the Bar Exam. My sister-in-law offered us a small artificial tree she had used when she had a one room apartment but we really didn’t want to take it. We were both waiting to see if we could manage to get a real tree. My husband got a small job working for his brother-in-law’s law firm. I think he just had to help one client fill out paperwork for an immigration hearing. He was paid by the hour and it wasn’t a lot of hours but it saved us that first Christmas. About a week before Christmas, we were able to go get a tree. It was a small tree but it didn’t matter. We put it next to the front door, on top of an end table and it was still shorter than me. I’m short (5 feet, barely). My mother had given me a box of Christmas decorations. In the box was a package of that angel hair stuff to cover trees and a string of lights. I went to K-Mart and got a package of wooden cut outs in Christmas shapes that also came with paints and a paint brush. I think I paid about $3 for it (1978 dollars). I took the box home and carefully popped the ornaments out of the sheet. They had to be sanded down to get rid of the rough edges. Then I got to paint them and after they dried, I sprinkled glitter on some of them and glued rhinestones on a few select spots. In the end, I had enough ornaments for our little tree. We strung the lights on the tree, put on the ornaments I had made, along with an “our first Christmas together” ornament someone had given us. I remember going to Pic N Save (now Big Lots) and getting a tree topper. It was a white spiky thing with the nativity painted on it. It was very plain but it was cheap and I liked it for out little tree. When I took it home, I glued a very thin line of glitter along the sides of the spiky thing and then it had just the right amount of sparkle to it. We finished off the tree with the angel hair and because it was such a small tree, one package of angel hair was perfect. It covered it so well and it gave the colored lights a glowing quality; the light kind of radiating throughout the tree.

I rarely think of that tree. In fact, this post started out to be about another Christmas tree but something made me write this. I don’t know why but I guess I won’t fight it. Somewhere there is a picture of that first little tree my now ex-husband and I created out of almost nothing and every year, when I pull out our Christmas ornaments, I find a few of the little wooden ornaments that I painted thirty years ago. Although we have much nicer ornaments now, the ones from that first Christmas still hold a special place in my memories.

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