“Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?”

Today is a pretty day filled with sunlight and a clear blue sky. It’s even warm at 48 degrees. The leaves at the end of the branches are blowing, but the wind is gone. It’s a day to get out and do something.

My dance card for the week is fuller than usual, with usual being empty. Wednesday and Thursday are booked, and Skip will be by to put up my outside Christmas lights on Friday so I’ll have to scurry and get my wreaths. I love that errand: walking among the trees and wreaths and filling my nose with the smell of Christmas.

My father and his sister and Christmas trees are a part of my memories. My father used to go with my mother to pick out and buy the tree. He was always aghast at the prices and would try to convince my mother to go with a sparser, less expensive tree. My mother, at heart a Christmas elf, would never agree. She wanted the fullest of all trees, and my father usually gave in. The tree took up a whole corner of the room and was always beautiful. My aunt, my father’s younger sister, would drop by to visit and always admired the tree. She’d say something about how expensive it must have been which was really a subtle way to get the price. She and my dad had a yearly unacknowledged competition as to which one of them had bought the cheaper but more beautiful tree. My father always lied. We knew it and I think she did too. No matter how expensive the tree had been, my father always said $15 or $20, and my aunt was always amazed. None of us ever said a word about the real cost of the tree. We enjoyed the family ritual, the always rigged tree competition.


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30 Comments on ““Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?””

  1. Hedley Says:

    The Christmas tree is in the basement and is expected for next weekend. We hope that the Prince will be around to help decorate it after it is assembled and the lights are on. This year we have some new ornaments including a Dalek which he will appreciate.
    Our holiday includes items we bought from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Kathe Wohlfahrt and Santons Fouque from Aix en Provence.
    The house will stay decorated until Boxing Day and then I will be anxious to put everything back in their boxes and return the home to some level of normality. Oh and there is an SD card full of Christmas songs that gets excessive use at this time of year.

    Father Christmas is almost ready to roll and we need to get ready

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Mine is a live tree and will be put up in a week or two. I always buy it at the same place as they have lovely trees. I get my nephew to bring it in and put it in the stand. The house immediately smells amazing.

      I appreciate the Dalek ornament. No Tardis?

      I too have ornaments bought in my travels, a new one this year from Ghana.

      I usually keep the lights on and the house decorated until Little Christmas though the tree comes down a bit earlier. I always miss it when it’s gone.

      I wish I could rent a little kid at Christmas time!

      • Hedley Says:

        The Prince and I have spent a lot of time discussing gift options for Christmas – he wants the Lego Batcave – he wont be disappointed.

        Its a big red Dalek and we skipped the Tardis – most of our ornaments come from our travels or the kids school days

    • im6 Says:

      I’ve almost completed this year’s edition of my annual holiday music compilations (looks to be a 2-disc affair this year). So save some room on your SD card. Perhaps I should make a special version just for you with lots of Beach Boys and Rod Stewart ;-P

      • Kat Says:

        Your retirement has done well for us: maybe even a 2-disc affair sounds wonderful!

        I vote for MDH getting your special version though now he’ll claim I’m pandering again!

      • Hedley Says:

        Im6, my cousin and husband in Basel went to see R Stewart a couple of weeks ago. In return for over $200 a ticket they received 60 minutes of Rod and an 8 minute encore of Christmas songs. Being Swiss they sat there politely waiting for him to come back…..he didn’t.
        I was able to buy the R Stewart Christmas Crap CD for $5 from amazon and ship it to Switzerland at a total cost of $11.00

        And…it is quite clear that Katmah is a notorious Panderer when it comes to im6

  2. Kat Says:

    Many of my ornaments are whimsical and many also come from trips I’ve made. I have several made by me or my mother.

    Now I’ll hunt down that Dalek!

      • Kat Says:

        Thank you, order placed.

      • Hedley Says:

        The Prince and I both have remote control Daleks. His is red and usually “wins”. The arrival of the Daleks on Saturday evening TV in 1964? established a pattern of watching the box from behind the sofa. These days its usually reserved for Tottenham, who’s supporters were attacked in Rome and then subjected to obscenes chants on Sunday..at least a 3-1 win but there you go.

        I went to the Horseshoe on Saturday and it can be said that the atmosphere was “hostile”. I guess if I lived in Columbus I would be hostile. I walked in dressed neutral in a black North Fake, best strategy to avoid fights.

  3. Bob Says:

    Although my dad never bought a Christmas tree, he was the king of negotiating the lowest possible price on anything. He bragged that he never bought anything at full retail. I think his entire self esteem was tieded to getting the lowest price, or a good deal. After my dad retired, he would go to the grocery store two or three times a week and ask the butcher to mark down the meat that was approaching its expiration date. When i would visit he would pull a steak out of the freezer and ask me to guess how much he paid. After showing me the marked down price he would beam with happiness.

    Our parents were children of the Great Depression, the one prior to the Bush depression of 2008. They went through very hard times and having anything nice during the holidays was a real treat. To get a beautiful tree at a rock bottom price was your father’s holiday treat. Actually, his real treat was putting one over on his younger sister. 🙂

    • Kat Says:

      My brother-in-law and your father would have gotten along well. He is the lowest price guy. He bought a new car and bragged at getting it at 2.8 %. I got mine at 2.5? and called him to crow. Hr had negotiated. I hadn’t but pretended I did.

      You’re right. His treat was putting one over on my aunt Mary!

  4. olof1 Says:

    My mother came never home with anything else than the best christmas tree there was. She always wanted a Disney tree 🙂 A perfect tree looking just like they do in a Disney movie 🙂 She never really made it but it was beautiful anyway 🙂
    Now days she doesn’t care about a tree but I think she still would like to try one more time for that perfect look 🙂

    My tree stands in the cool cellar still, it’s the potted one I had last year but it’s a bit taller this Christmas. I guess it still will look much like a western movie brothel madame 🙂 🙂 🙂 a bit too much 🙂 🙂 🙂 and I love it 🙂

    have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      Our trees were beautiful, and, by the time we’d finished decorating, the tree was beautiful. My mother was a stickler when it came to putting on the icicles. She’d hand them one strand at a time, and we’d start out that way then get bored and throw them in bunches. She’d send us on our way and finish the tree herself.

      I had tabletop trees my first few Christmases as I had few ornaments and little money. As my salary grew, so did the trees I bought. They now just miss the ceiling, leaving room for the tree top angel.

      I love decorating my tree.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My father was the one who wanted the perfect Christmas tree. The Christmas tree of his memory was decorated perfectly, with ornaments hung just so, 2 strands of tinsel per branchlet and spun glass angel hair pulled over all. The lights were real candles that were clipped to the ends of the branches. On Christmas Eve, his parents would light the candles. Everyone came into the room and admired the tree for a few minutes and then all the candles would be put out. Fire hazard, you know.
    Our tree had to be just like that except for the candles and the spun glass angel hair. The tree had to be shaped perfectly and this often involved removing branches, drilling holes in the trunk and glueing the branches back in. Ornaments had to hang just so. 2 strands of lead tinsel per branchlet. Lights on the outside of the tree.
    The problem here was that my mother liked the lights on the inside of the tree. Worse than that, she was a confirmed tinsel tosser. There were many energetic discussions about tinsel. 🙂
    I have a small fake tree that is already decorated. It comes out of its box, does its duty and goes back in the box. For Christmas smell, I get an evergreen arrangement for the table and a balsam Yankee Candle. Perfect.
    Enjoy the day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My father never had a huge Christmas when he was a kid: socks and clothes and that’s about it. My mother, one of eight kids, was the one with the Christmas bug which most of her siblings also had.

      I always wondered why more houses weren’t set on fire by those candles. I think a lot of families decorated the tree on Christmas Eve rather than any earlier, and I suspect those candles were part of it.

      I don’t think any of us would have had the patience for such a just so tree. My dad was the worst when it came to the lights. he’d put them anywhere just to finish with them. My mother would usually have me rearrange them so they’d be pretty. I too love to spend time putting on the lights.

      I don’t use those tinsel icicles any more. I once had a cat who ate them, very dangerous, so I stopped using them.

      I love my tree, but I do have a large fake one for the dining room. It looks like a scrub pine and is a bit ugly.

      • Caryn Says:

        Only my father had the patience for a just so tree. The rest of us were tinsel tossers. 😀
        I also have a scrub pine. It is about 33 years old and has never had the decorations taken off it. The first year I used it, I put it in a trash bag when Christmas was over, leaving the decorations on it. Every year I took it out, straightened it up a bit and put it in the window. It always looked wonderful even after the doberman got into the bag and ate some of the metal ornaments.
        My first job, as a teenager, was in a lead tinsel factory. That could explain much. 😀 😀 😀

  6. Coleen Burnett Says:

    For the longest time I have had an artificial tree – – easier to put up – – but one year I left it up til February. I can’t remember why.

    It pains me greatly that some people take down their trees on December 26th. That’s my birthday!


    • Kat Says:

      My mother got an artificial tree when she was older and the whole live tree process got too much. One year she left it up all year and decorated it for every holiday. Her Easter tree was almost as filled as her Christmas tree.

      I don’t know anyone who takes a tree down that early. Rest assured mine will still be up for your birthday!

  7. Kat Says:

    You and I are kindred spirits. That is exactly what I do with my scrub pine. I put it the plastic tree bag they sell for real trees and tie the bottom so if an ornament falls, it won’t fall out. Most of the ornaments on it are really old and some are made of old tinsel and cardboard.

  8. Bill S. Says:

    We always have a live tree (soon to be dead, not the ones in pots). I would rather have an artificial one, but am outvoted by the master decorator. Peg used to put tinsel on the tree, one by one, and SAVE (??) the tinsel year after year. She no longer sees the value in that, and now we have no tinsel at all. The tree this year is covered with ornaments bought over the years, mostly hand-made or craftsy. The house both inside and out has all our decorations up, thanks to the warm day last week. Every corner of the room, every shelf, has something related to the season.

    In Ghana we had an acacia tree which I cut down out back with a knife. We decorated it with paper chains and paper ornaments, and it served its purpose, though it was a bit thorny.

    • Kat Says:

      I agree with Peg! Nothing better than a live tree and that wonderful aroma filling the house. I have many ornaments like yours: from my childhood, hand-made, bought in my travels and gifts from friends. When Michelle came to visit in June, she brought ornaments she’d had since our PC days. She doesn’t have a tree any more and thought I should put them on mine. I was thrilled.

      I haven’t started decorating yet. I do it a little at a time and carry the stuff up in a tub as the boxes are far too heavy. I try and alternate what I put out as I have so much stuff. I need a Bill of my own to help!

      My mother had sent me an artificial tree, a small one, my first year in Ghana. She’d also sent ornaments from our family tree. I used that and it fit perfectly on my bookcase.

  9. Kat Says:

    I’m glad for the smile!! You definitely needed one after all you’ve been through!

  10. Kat Says:

    Panderer? Never!!

  11. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Hedley, I goofed. I live in New Jersey, in the United States. I was making reference to the Isle of Jersey, which I thought was in England but is actually in Normandy France. Should’ve double-checked.

    I am SO geographically challenged… 🙂

    • Kat Says:

      You were right. They are off the coast of Normandy, but they do have a relationship with the British Crown.

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