Thursday, December 14, 2017

O Christmas Tree

Lionello Delpiccolo | unsplash

"...freshly cut Christmas trees smelling
of stars and snow and pine resin - inhale deeply
and fill your soul with wintry night...”

~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain 

Do you ever get a little thrill up your back when you happen to hear the date of your birthday mentioned in a conversation or on the radio? For example, I just have to hear the words April 17th and I feel a zip of joy -- for that date is well sprinkled with happy memories which flood into my consciousness with no prior thought.

I tell you this for that is the same kind of happy thrill I feel when I hear the date December 20th mentioned. It's a warm tingly feeling that spills over from childhood  -- it was often the date when Mom gave the okay to bring in the Christmas Tree. I still recall coming home from school just days before December 25th to find a newly cut spruce tree from some woodsy nook propped near the back step. Waiting, like we were, for the big day. And, if we weren't already antsy with excitement, it just made it soar off the charts. We could hardly stand it. Sometimes I thought the top of my head would blow off, and I felt as if I wanted to jump right out of my skin. I could hardly contain the joy.

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.
In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.

~ Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

It's true, when you are five or six or seven, every tree seems thirty feet tall, but in truth, looking at some old family photos, our trees weren't those towering specimens at all. All green and prickly, smelling of pungent spruce resin--I didn't like how it made my fingers stick together when it got on my hands. Sometimes it was a little scraggly or sparse on branches, even a little crooked, but in our eyes it was practically perfect.

On that day, Dad would drag the frozen tree into the porch where it would thaw and the snow on its branches could melt. Which meant that probably when we got home from school the following day, it would be sitting in its wooden stand in the corner of the living room where Dad had secured it with clear fishing line to the door jam. Cats and kids were prone to examining tree branches rather closely.

Aaron Burden | unsplash

"You can tell a lot about a person by the way
they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage,
and tangled Christmas tree lights.

~ Maya Angelou

Once it was safely up, we started begging to go find the decoration boxes that were in the upstairs crawl space. First, there came the task of untangling of tree lights -- not a job for the kids, thankfully. And then the careful removal of the box tops with the little cellophane windows. As we got older, we were allowed to put on the delicate glass ornaments, hanging them next to the proud display of the current year's glittering handmade Christmas cards done in school art class. Chains made from coloured construction paper and tinsel garlands were added. Hanging the ornaments was a very studied business as we pondered which branch to hang them on. We were also firmly instructed not to throw bunches of tinsel on the tree, but to take each strand and drape it one by one -- even I had the patience to do that.

At last, the moment came when we would turn out all the overhead lights, put on our Christmas music, and gaze in wonder at our bee-u-ti-ful tree all bedecked and sparkling. With the tree decorated, we were ready for Christmas. Life couldn't feel any more perfect than in that moment. With so much to look forward to and so few cares of the world intruding on our little family, at least for a few days, we felt safe as we nestled against the storms of winter and life. We were happy.

Circa 1964, Little Sis and Me

And that's what we want and hope for you, dear friends.
Here's wishing you a beautiful day!



  1. Oh what memories! If only we could somehow recapture some of that heady joy!

  2. A beautiful post and such wonderful memories. I believe it is the memories that really makes Christmas so special for each of us. A Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Oh what a fun post filled with great memories of your childhood. My parents would not let us put up the tree until two weeks before Christmas which was a little bit sooner than what you were allowed to do. Talk about anticipation! The only thing different is we didn’t pull ours through the snow....It was usually purchased at our local fire department ...until we started getting artificial ones. Of course each tree was draped in those long silver icicles and bubble lights! Sweet holiday memories and adorable childhood photo!

  4. Those are very special memories.

  5. Glass ornaments pulled from cardboard boxes with cellophane windows. "Icicle" tinsel placed a strand at a time. Those are memories from my childhood as well! What a happy time! Just this year, my mother and my mother-in-law both gave some of those old ornaments (and their boxes) to my daughter Kati who loves vintage things. She is thrilled to have these bits of family history!

  6. That is a beautiful Christmas story. Different, yet similar to my own. We did not start having fresh trees until I was about 12. For years, Daddy and I would go out to the tree lots and search for the right tree. I believe that first tree cost $6. Can you even imagine that now?

  7. Your Christmas sounds a lot like mine, except we went to a tree farm to cut down the tree. We did have fishing line to hold it in place as well. My Mom hung the Christmas cards on the fishing line.

  8. A lovely tale of years gone by. It made me glow just reading your beautiful post

  9. I have lots of memories surrounding Christmas trees! For me Christmas began, though, when my grandparents arrived at our home on Christmas eve, bearing gifts and suitcases to stay the night! It made it so fun.

  10. Such lovely memories, Brenda. Christmas is such a magical time for children. Love the sweet photos :) My Dad would always leave little reindeer tracks in the snow and bits of carrots and cookie crumbs and we believed it all. Sending you sweet Christmas blessings xo Karen

  11. Thank you for sharing this sweet Christmas memory and photo with us!

  12. Wonderful memories of Christmas tree decorating. We still have a real tree and the scent fills the room the with freshness of the woods.

  13. Dear Brenda - thank you for sharing your Christmas memories of tree trimming. Loved seeing that photo of you and your sister. As always such a wonderful visit I had to your blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year sweet friend. Hugs!

  14. Loved this trip down memory lane, Brenda. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  15. Just lovely. What wonderful memories of happy times. I do love the old fashioned tinsel. Merry Christmas to you dear Brenda. xo Deborah

  16. I have to say I have been a silent avid reader of your blog and email postings for a while now...and when you posted about your magazine via Blurb "Christmas" I KNEW I had to order me a copy! Well it arrived today! I have to tell you I am soooooooooo thrilled and excited and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this so much! THIS really brings to home for me this year everything Christmas! I thank you so very much for doing this and I hope you continue to do so in the future! I opted for the real copy rather than PDF because I wanted to hold it in my hands and touch the pages and really sink my eyes and heart into it.....and wow does it meet ALL my expectations and then some! This is so beautifully done! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  17. Oh what special memories...many, very similar to some of mine! Beautiful, beautiful post. Merry Christmas!

  18. Just reread this today, brings all those exciting memories I have too. Looking forward to days at your house this Christmas too!!!

  19. Thank-you for sharing what felt like a picture-book turning the pages rich with Nostalgia! Thank-you for your blog-visits and thoughtful comments. Wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas and New Year.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo