When I was a kid, in my house at Christmas, we celebrated all things commercial about Christmas, and none of the religious ones. We sang Christmas carols with “Jesus” and “Lord” in them; that was about it. And I liked it that way. That is still the primary focus in our household. Don’t get me wrong, we are also about giving to the Salvation Army bell ringers and peace on Earth and all that. But we have snowmen, Santas, and nutcrackers filling our house, and no nativity in sight.
This means the Christmas tree has always been the center of our Christmas celebration. After all, it is what you put the gifts under!
When I was very young, I thought that Christmas trees were a special variety of pine tree that grew to be 5 to 6ft tall within 330 days or so. I mean, it makes sense. That is about how often consumers need to purchase them. It seemed totally unrealistic to me that you would chop down a tree that has taken years to grow, just to put in someone’s living room for a month. I still think maybe my original idea was correct. Or, if it is not, we should totally work on developing that.
Just as with anything else, my mom was very fussy about getting a Christmas tree. As you may suspect from my hypothesizing above, my mom and I always got a live tree. Because she had to carry it herself, she had strict height restrictions. Namely, that the tree could not be taller than her. The base of the tree had to be small enough to fit into our small metal tree stand. The trunk had to be straight so that the tree would not lean or be off balance. Because we hauled it in the trunk of our car, and later in a Chevrolet Chevette 2-door hatchback, she always put down a sheet first, so that (most of) the needles could be easily shaken out.
Me, when I was almost 4 years old. Almost the same age that my son is now.
We always bought trees at the closest tree lot to us, which was at the American Legion. My gramma always came with us, which added a layer of tension because my mom and my gramma always bickered. (In 20 years, my son will be saying the same thing about his mom and grandmother. Oy.) I think my gramma was supposed to help hold open doors to the house, and hold the tree steady while my mom laid on the floor and screwed it into the stand. But I think the real reason my mom drug my gramma along was because in order to pay for the tree at the Legion, someone had to go into the bar to bring someone out. My mom always made my gramma do that. When I got big enough to help, my mom would just take the tree home. Then she would clip the price tag off the top of the tree and mail it with a check back to the Legion.
One year, my mom was out of work. She kept saying I wasn’t going to get much for Christmas. But she said that every year, and every year my Christmas was filled with gifts and candy. This particular year, she said we didn’t have money to get a Christmas tree. Which I didn’t believe her at first. She was always saying stuff like that, but our quality of living never changed much. (That was actually courtesy of Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard, who she was using to buy us groceries with.) She was usually a person who bought a tree early (for best selection), and then threw it in our shed until a week before Christmas (to ensure freshness). So as Christmas creeped closer, I started to believe her. And if I had known then what I know now about scrimping and saving, I would have told her to cut down on the steak (albeit cheap steak) and laundry soap (she used A LOT), we totally could have found the $20 they cost at that time. But I was just a kid.
Antique icicle ornaments older than I am. Wait…Does that make me an antique too?
One day we were taking a walk around the trailer court in which we lived in December. It must have been a warm day, otherwise why would we have been out? Which then makes sense that it was windy. As we were walking, leftover autumn leaves danced at our feet on the cracked concrete street. Among them, was a hint of green that she kicked with the toe of her shoe. It turned out to be a $20 bill. Who knows how far that $20 had blown to land at our feet. No owner in sight.
So, that year, that was how we got our Christmas tree. You would think that would have moved my mom in some way spiritually. It did not seem to. When I think of that experience, it strengthens my belief in the Law of Attraction. We wanted a Christmas tree so badly, that the means to get one was drawn into our lives.
My husband and I continue the tradition of a live tree every year (Scotch pine if my favorite).
My next post will be about the existence of Santa Claus.
Coming Soon! My first book: The Wind Could Blow a Bug
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