I often chuckle to myself when I think of the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree each year. Think about it. We move furniture around to accommodate placing a tree in our most used room of the house, the living room. Then we spend hours unpacking little decorations that we store lovingly all year long. Then we spend even more time putting all of these delicate little beauties onto each branch. In a few weeks time we dismantle all of this, only to do it all again next year. It really is bizarre but I wouldn't have it any other way.
When I was growing up, we always had a real Christmas tree. I think that the majority of people did in those days of the late 60's and early 70's. We would put the tree up around the 20th of December. We lived in an apartment, which was very dry. My mother always said that the tree dried out fast and so it was better to wait until close to Christmas to put it up so that we could keep it up through the holidays until January 2nd. As you can imagine, the tree selection was getting pretty slim this close to Christmas day and so we were known to usually have a typical Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Each year we would laugh at how close we had actually come to Charlie's tree.
Susan with her dollhouse. 1964
Susan and Me on my first Christmas. 1964
Andrew's "cheetah" under the tree. 1974
One year early into our new millennium, I whined particularly loud and long for a real tree. I was relentless, if not even a bit childish. ;) I even mentioned it to some of Rob's co-workers who then guilted him about being such a scrooge. They told him that he needed to get his wife a real Christmas tree. Hey, peer pressure worked and off we went with a grumbling Rob to get our real tree. I was beyond excited and even the girls, who were in junior high at this point, seemed interested about this new tree experience.
Our tree came home around the middle of December and sat in the backyard until the 20th of the month, when we were ready to decorate it... not too early, so we could enjoy it through the whole holiday season. Oh it was beautiful! It had such a wonderful shape. Almost perfect but just imperfect enough to be real nature. I lovingly decorated it. That was the year that I decided on a red and gold theme, other than the special ornaments that held meaning. After the decorating was done I sat back and looked at my amazing tree with it's twinkling white lights. But yes, the best part was the beautiful smell of Christmas that filled the room.
Our real Christmas tree documented in the scrapbook. 2001
And so the story goes that we went back to our artificial plastic tree. But, I stopped whining about it. I still get my "Christmas smell" fix. Each year I go to the greenhouse and spend some time in the "fresh evergreen" cooler section. Rob stays outside and waits for me. Also, our grocery store sells Christmas trees and has them all standing outside at the door. I never pass by without taking the time to stop and smell a tree. I always tell Rob that it is a good thing that I love him. If not for him, not only would I have a real tree each year but there would be about four cats batting at the branches and at least one would be trying to climb to the top.
Lisa and Diane in front of our fake tree. 1996