Christmas used to be one of my favorite times of years. I was the girl that could have Christmas all year around. I love everything about it. I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over so we could drag out all the decorations and reminisce about the ornaments my sister and I made at school. When I was a small child, my dad’s parents owned a nursery and their gift to our family was giving us a tree. What I loved about the trees as they were big and flocked. If you haven’t had a flocked, live tree in your house, you must have one. It was like having a snowed tree from outside in your house. We lived about two hours from where my grandparents lived. So, when it was time to bring the tree home, we would drive to their house, load the tree in the truck, and come back home. I would watch the tree the entire time. I was so afraid the coverings would come loose and we would lose the tree. If that happened, I wanted to make sure I could yell at my dad to pull over so we could save the tree. Thankfully, nothing ever happened and we had our tree ready to put up when we got home. The flocked trees stopped when I was 10, my grandmother died and my grandfather just didn’t want to carry on with her business.
As this was the first year without my grandparent my parents had the idea to get a tree still with the roots on it so we could plant the tree in our yard after Christmas. We brought the tree inside once we had everything set up. We had to keep the tree in a large pot of dirt so the roots could be kept watered and not dry out. My mom wanted to do an old-fashioned Christmas with strings of popcorn and paper chain link garland. We worked for hours making those decorations. What we didn’t count on was the dog. We went out one night to visit relatives and left our dog alone in the house. When we returned from visiting, what we found was a tree on the ground with all the dirt dug out of the bucket. Apparently, if you put a bucket of dirt close to a dog, she will dig and knock over your Christmas tree. We were able to salvage the tree, but we decided from that Christmas on we would have to settle for a fake tree. Lesson learned.
Maybe I love Christmas so much. because it seems to be the holiday I spent the most time visiting family and family that lived far off would fly in or drive in to visit for the holidays. It was exciting that people from far away as Texas and even California were coming to visit. We didn’t have family that lived in the East or overseas. Now it’s nothing to have people from these places visit. It’s easier to hop on a plane and be here in a few hours or even hop on your computer and visit online, but in the 1970’s, long distance phone calls were expensive and chat, text and video phone calls were not discovered yet. My dad’s grandparents always had a Christmas Eve dinner at their house. I loved it. All of the family that could make it would come to dinner. The house would be bursting with bodies. Between the food cooking and the heat from the number of bodies in the house, the windows would fog up. In the middle of winter, doors would be thrown open because the house would get so warm. I loved walking through the house and eavesdropping on the various conversations. Sometimes I would just sit in front of the tree and stare at the lights and all the presents piled in front of the tree. My great grandmother’s tree was one of a kind. It was an artificial tree bought sometime in the 1950’s or 60’s. We were never sure, but I loved that tree. It was of a type of plastic, no needles fell off and you just put the branches in the color-coded slots on the tree trunk (over time those colors wore off so it was a guessing game). I think my grandmother would appreciate the fold out trees of today; she and that tree went a few rounds several times. 🙂
Now, I find myself a bit lost at Christmas because most of my family traditions are long gone. It’s not that I don’t care for the holiday; I just don’t find it as magical and wondrous as I once did. Will that wonder ever return? I’d to think so and have to believe that it will and new traditions will be made.