Friday, November 29, 2013

Decider of the Christmas Tree

Every family has their particular style when it comes to choosing and decorating the Christmas tree. Growing up we always went to the same place to pick it out. The man knew my mother would be looking for the biggest and the fullest tree so he always had some available from which she could make her choice. She was the 'Decider of the Christmas Tree.' We were like Santa helpers. We went along to tell her the tree she picked out was 'perfect' and most always it was. But a few times after the tree was up in the living room it wasn't quite as full as my mother had imagined. So my father would go buy another one; bring it home and put it up next to the original tree. And then-like magic-we'd have the 'perfect Christmas tree.' (One year my father cut too much off the top. But because the tree really was perfect-he taped the top back on with electrical tape and hid the tape with tinsel and decorations.)

Getting the tree, putting it up, and securing it was just the beginning. Decorating it was like watching a Broadway show unfold. Out came the ladder. This led to my father stringing the lights. He was very good at this. He took his time-a lot of time hiding the wires way back in the branches. The strands of lights were always blue lights-his favorite. Then the boxes of ornaments packed neatly away the year before were brought out. Because the boxes holding the ornaments were the original boxes bought from Woolworths, Newberry's or Grants, they were handled carefully as out came glass ornaments and fancy-blown ones appearing as if they'd been hand-painted. The smaller ones hung at the top. After the ornaments came little plastic-type icicles.

And then came the final act-strands and strands of heavy lead-looking tinsel. It was so heavy that it would have taken a hurricane to make it move-and that's what made it as perfect as the perfect tree from which it was hanging. After my father-standing on his ladder-strung the tinsel up high-my mother hung each strand below. She was so meticulous-holding the strands in a certain way in one hand so she'd be able to hang the strands-one at a time-with her other. And she was just as meticulous when taking each strand off-one by one-and carefully placing the strands back in their boxes until the curtain rose again on this Broadway Show in a living room out in the country at Christmas time.


  1. I can picture your Mother holding those icicles, picking them up one at the time. My sister, brother, and I would have an argument every year putting up the tree. My brother wanted to throw the icicles onto the tree, by the handful. My sister and I wanted to hang the icicles. Anyway mama would have to call daddy in to straighten things out! I love your posts!

  2. We all have so many memories of putting up the Christmas tree!