Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar - The Christmas Tree

Christmas 1957 Gayle, George & Sharon

Growing up we always had a real tree. When I was really small, I suppose my dad brought it home and he and mom would decorate it. As I got older, I remember the five of us, mom, dad, my sister, brother and I would pile into the family car and go Christmas tree shopping. We lived in Chicago. Dad had a friend who worked at a tree lot. It seemed like a big drafty barn. The trees were still wrapped up with twine and leaning against the walls. We seemed to look at each one but mom reminded us that it had to fit into our living room, so watch the size!

Dad would pay the friend, then tie the tree to the top of the car and away we went. The tree had to stay in the garage for the night so the branches could open by themselves. I remember my mom saying, "we seemed to have gotten the most crooked tree on the lot." Dad had to saw off several inches and then try and get it to stand straight in the stand.

Dad would put the lights on the tree and then sit back and watch all of us do the decorating. Big bulbs, garland, round glass oranments from when my parents were first married and then of course the shiny silver tinsel.

We always put the tree in one of two corners of the living room. One year, that darn tree wouldn't stay upright! It fell three times on Christmas day alone. Water went flying, ornaments were broken and mom would come running. Dad finally had to tie the tree to the handle of a cabinet door. Other years, either my brother or myself knocked the tree over. If we could have run from mom, we would have.

Our grandparents all had real trees. It was fun to visit and look at all their ornaments and decorations. I can still see my grandma Jean's small apartment size tree in front of her living room window.


  1. Sounds, Oh so familiar. I remember once my Dad making a U-turn to buy a tree. You guessed it, he got a ticket for crossing a double double yellow line. Very expensive tree that year.

  2. Oh I SO lived in fear of knocking over the Christmas tree!! I only remember ours falling once – and thankfully none of us kids was the cause!

  3. I do remember the tinsel. A very important element of tree decorating. My mom would always supervise this as us kids would quickly grow tired of hanging individual strands and start tossing on the clumps...much to mom's irritation!

  4. Oh my, this reminded me of the year we had to tie our Christmas tree up. At first we thought one of the cats had knocked it down, but then we realized that the stand would not hold it up. I talked to my "Christmas tree guy," and he told me the right kind of stand. Never any problems since then.