“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

Today is a dreary day with dark grey clouds and maybe some rain this afternoon. We can look forward to that forecast for the next three days. It is that same storm which dropped snow and left ice all over the Midwest. We are too warm for the snow and ice for which I am thankful.

So many houses are already lit for Christmas that any ride is a light ride. Last night I took a few side roads on my way home from getting bread and dinner. Many houses have gone all out this year, and there are more colored lights than in other years. They always remind me of my childhood.

I miss my parents and still think to grab the phone to call my mother even after ten years, but it is Christmas time when I miss her the most. My sisters and I laugh and say my mother cursed us with the Christmas bug. We all put lights outside, still buy real trees and have enough decorations for several living rooms. My mother used to say no more decorations then she’d see something amazing and just have to buy it. She’d laugh and tell us she could decorate for years and never repeat ornaments or decorations from year to year.

My childhood tree sat in the corner which usually housed the TV console. It was connected by wires to the windows because it sometimes fell down, being heavier than the stand could hold. I remember holding it up by the trunk while my father attached the wires. I hated that job as I always had branches sticking in my face because I was reaching through the branches to the trunk of the tree.

When we decorated, my mother always put the really big glass ornaments around the top branches as those were her fancy ornaments, and she was afraid we’d break them. I have one of those ornaments and, of course,  it goes up top. Those trees of my childhood had bare spots between the branches, and we’d put things like the Coca Cola Santa and a few cards we kept from year to year in the middle of the bare spots.

When we were older, my mother always bought the most gorgeous trees. It was a joke between her and my father. He’d ask the price of the tree, and my mother would say $20 or $25 when it was really $40 or more. My aunt would visit and remark on how beautiful the tree was, and my father would tell her $20.00 knowing full well my mother had paid much more. My aunt always scoffed at my father. That was part of the fun.

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26 Comments on ““…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…””

  1. Hedley Says:

    Growing up we had a record player but very few records. However, my folks owned an LP called “Paddy Roberts at the Blue Angel” – a mixture of music hall and comedy and probably quite fashionable back in 1961.

    In 1962 they swooned to a 45 from good old Paddy and it was played in to oblivion.

    So Mum and Dad, the years have flown and remember “You’ll be taking the kids round the multiple stores to be frightened to death by some old Santa Claus”

    Here is Paddy – God Bless

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I knew as soon as I saw the title I’d be in for a treat. This has to be the theme song of the bah! humbug! crowd. My uncle would learn the words if he could.

      My 3 year old grandnephew, his 1 1/2 year old brother and their 1 and 1/2 year old cousin had a group picture taken with Santa Claus. Every one of them was crying with their arms out imploring someone save them.

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat – All a moment in time when Frank Ifield, Rolf Harris and Richard Chamberlain were floating around the chart, Love Me Do touched our consciousness and generally we were ambivalent. We had Paddy Roberts.

        Just one year later the Beatles had the top two spots, Freddie and the Dreamers and Dusty and the Dave Clark Five were also at the top of the charts as was the wonderful Kathy Kirby. Ok, the Singing Nun was around but hell the Stones had arrived charting with I want to be your man (I don’t think it was intended for the singing nun)

        It had simply blown apart and we was (well I was) mesmerized – I sold my train set and bought a transistor radio.

      • katry Says:

        My Dear Hedley,
        Love Me Do came like a tidal wave and soon enough the rest of the British Invasion swept in and took all the places on the chart. I don’t think I ever turned off my radio, my very first small transistor radio replacing the larger one.

  2. olof1 Says:

    We’re having a cold evening and night here but it will turn towards much warmer already tomorrow evening. I can’t say I like sthe snow but it could just as well have stayed for a while because everything will be so muddy when it melts away again.

    Yes why did we all place the tree where the tv always stood 🙂 It was the same here. Our finest decorations always hung high too and I guess that made it worse when the tree fell every now and again 🙂 They became fewer wnd fewer after each fall 🙂

    I stopped having a real tree since Orvar never seemed to understand that only because there was a tree in the livingroom it didn’t mean that the livingroom wasn’t outside. He peed a lot that dog 🙂 I now have my tiny plastic one and I do miss the smell from a real spruce.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      We are having rain right now just as predicted. It will continue for the next few days. I’m happy it isn’t snow. We can always use rain.

      I think the TV took up a corner where the tree fit perfectly. My trees were in a corner where a chair usually sat as my TV is in the den. One of my trees fell as well. At first I blamed the dog but then I saw the bent tree stand and went to buy another.

      My dogs never mistook the tree for an outside one, but a couple of my cats climbed the tree. I was shocked one day when I saw my cat’s head half-way up the tree.

      Have a great evening!

  3. Birgit Says:

    Advent calendar day 1: a harlequin with a santa hat. I’m slightly confused. For all these years no one told me about the harlequin in the Christmas story.

    • Hedley Says:

      Does the Harlequin look a bit like Iggy Pop ?

      • Birgit Says:

        Hedley, not exactly but yes, the harlequin was good-looking and the chocolate was sweet and the calendar cardboard surface is a bit wrinkled 🙂
        Btw, Kat, Iggy’s birthday is in April 😉

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        I know I won’r remember and have no calendar to put a reminder. To Tell the truth, I wouldn’t know an Iggy song if he sang it to me.

      • katry Says:

        Birgit and MDH,
        As this is the season of goodwill to man and woman, I have decided to overlook both of you despite your desecration toward music and the ears of the Coffee faithful; however, let this be a warning. If I see a posting of Dylan singing Christmas, I may have to revisit my decision.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I can’t help you. I have no idea why you have a harlequin with a Santa’s hat. I tried google and found nothing. Where was the Advent calendar published?

      • Hedley Says:

        Right I am going to kill three birds with one stone – while we worry about what is behind door number 2 for the Bochum Belle, we must all pray that this is the one and only time that we hear Iggy Pop sing “White Christmas”

        Apologies to anyone that presses play – I am just pandering to Birgit

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        Jus because it is Birgit I will leave this travesty alone. I lasted about 15 seconds of this song.OMG

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat – this is an excellent candidate for the worst Christmas song ever – I am walking a very fine line between pandering and a (deserved) lifetime ban from KTCC

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        I have decided to take the high road although you are the worst complainer when I pander so remember this gesture of good will. I don’t think Birgit has ever been pandered so I’ll let this go though I do hope to erase it from my memory.

      • Birgit Says:

        Just back from chorus rehearsal, where we sang beautiful Christmas harmonies and I was just beginning to get a little bit into Christmas mood and then…
        Noooo….!!! (He found it!)
        Yup, I know, it’s torture, even for me. But, Hedley, this is not the worst Christmas song ever, you probably haven’t heard Iggy’s Little Drummer Boy with Michel Legrand yet! And I won’t even mention his last non-Christmas solo album which is completely unlistenable.
        Just switch to our local heroes for a good old German Christmas song. We know how to take Christmas seriously:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRnQYQlHG5Q

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        First the music starts and we are led to believe we will witness an extravaganza. Then the singing starts. It is so bad I only lasted words, not sentences, not lines. I got a chill up my back. Awful isn’t even close.

      • Hedley Says:

        Birgit

        I would guess after that we are both facing lifetime bans from KTCC.

      • Birgit Says:

        Kat, have mercy!
        (Do we have to listen to a Dylan Christmas song as an act of repentance?)

  4. Richard Says:

    The WX guy said yesterday we’d be experiencing the dubious joys of full sunlight by afternoon this date – he lied. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not complaining about the extended greyness, but a bit o’ the old brightness would help me see more clearly where the filler cap’s located on my tire so I can use the air compressor in my trunk to ‘fill ‘er up.’ I don’t think there’s a leak – if there is, it’s a really slow one. Might bring it to the tire shop for a checkup later on in the week.

    Not being one to ride around after sundown unless I’m coming home from some occasion, I don’t know if there are lights up in my area or not. I assume there are – I just haven’t seen ’em.
    You’re right about missing parents at Christmas – they were always part of the picture in our youth. I’m glad I hold the memories etched in my circuitry then …

    I keep my tree – such as it may be – up year ’round. It’s an assemblage of Things Christmas-y bought from a Pottery Barn after-Christmas sale one year long ago. The elements are arranged in a frosted 10″ glass vase on a table from the 1890s that was once my grandmother’s. The lace doily on which it sits is from the same period. I leave it up all year so that I’m always in a ‘Christmas’-y mood year-’round.

    I remember the glass ornaments you mention … Mom had ’em in round globes of red, green, silver, and clear. There were also hand-blown spires of glass with silvered and painted interiors from, I think, the former Czechoslovakia – but it could have been Poland, too.

    My daughter has since become the Keeper of those ornaments and has added to it with her own pieces. In 2000, I gave her the White House Christmas ornament, because ‘turn-of-century.’ Later I gave her my Fraternity ornament, which is essentially a rendering of the coat-of-arms with a hanger. She already has quite a substantial collection of things to hang, and after the tinsel’s tossed on, it’s quite the sight.

    We used to have live trees at Christmas, but they were always drying out, dropping needles everywhere, and were generally a PITA. Mom finally resolved that problem with the Fake Christmas Tree she could put up year after year with nary a problem to be had. For a while after I was married, I tried the live tree routine for a number of years before doing exactly what Mom had done. There was never a tear shed over the lack of a live tree after that decision was made … looked just as nice, and lasted longer. It’s win-win.

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      We also had a grey day and in late afternoon a bit of rain as well. I’ll have to adjust as it will be here a while.

      My mother gave us all a box of the ornaments from our childhood trees. I make sure they’re on my tree. I also bought ornaments every time I traveled so I have an assortment which are filled with the memories of my trips. I also have three from Ghana circa 1969-1971. My friend bought them back and gave them to me as she said I would be the best keeper.

      My mother too finally went to a fake tree. The first year she left it up the whole year and decorated it for every occasion like Valentine’s Day and Easter.

      My trees have had great lasting power. I put the tree bag underneath the tree skirt then I just pull the bag up over the branches and haul it outside when its time is gone. I probably would have a smaller real tree as I get older and find the hauling a problem. I am addicted to that aroma I get when I walk down the stairs in the morning.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Our tree went sort of in front of the living room window but a little south of it. For some reason it filled up the area between the window and the TV. If I sat on the couch while the tree was up, I had to sit on the extreme left or I wouldn’t be able to see the screen. And the tinsel nearest to the TV would be statically attracted to screen. It would be out straight and parallel to the floor.
    My mother had glass ornaments that were made in Poland. They had winter scenes painted on them of skiers, snowflakes and snow covered trees. We broke one or two every year. They were very delicate and didn’t take too well to kittens climbing the tree and batting them about.
    I still have some of the homemade ornaments that my brothers and I did when kids. One was a tiny bird feeder that had birdseed in it. My mother loved that one. It doesn’t have birdseed in it anymore but it’s still around. There were stars (asterisks, really) made of painted paper straws and those prong paper fasteners. They’re still around too. They don’t make paper straws like that anymore. Possibly they don’t make paper straws at all anymore.

    Same dreary weather up here.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I would love to have seen that tinsel standing straight out. It sounds like a scene from Close Encounters.

      My mother would have us sit around the table making ornaments. She’d collect stuff all year like ribbon, yarn, pipe cleaners and construction paper. She’d bring out scissors and paste and off we’d go. Later we would hang them on the tree. They decided one year my chorister was the ugliest of all the ornaments so it was hidden in the back. It still made it on the tree every year.

      One year, for gifts, I cross-stitched ornaments for one of my friends, my mother and my two sisters. Each person got 12 ornaments which I also stuffed and added a yarn hanger. I didn’t do any for myself but my sisters sent me my mother’s. I do have ornaments my mother crossed-stitched.

      I think we’re supposed to have another day tomorrow like today.

      Enjoy the day regardless.

  6. Bob Says:

    Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other non Christian kids have missed out on the entire Christmas tree thing. When I was I kid we had an electric Chanukah Menorah which had nine light bulbs that we screwed into the socket to turn them on. We also had candle version that we lit nightly and recited the prayers. The electric one we placed in our front window similar to Ralphie’s father displaying the leg lamp in the Christmas Story. 🙂

    I always wondered how kids in the Southern Hemisphere in places like São Paulo and Sydney spend Christmas during the Summer months.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      We did the same thing with our window lights: screwing them on and off by the bulbs. We’d run to try to be the first one to turn on the lights. The holders were white plastic, and my mother taped them to the window sills as the bulb made them a bit top heavy.

      My nephew spent Christmas in Australia a while back. They had all the regular stuff including trees and lights but on Christmas day they had a barbecue and went swimming. In Ghana we had a tree cut from the bush and it in no way resembled a fir tree. We made cookies and had chicken for Christmas dinner.


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