As I was sitting on my porch this morning on a rather warm morning considering this is December, I reflected back on yesterday’s activities. It was time to buy a new Christmas tree. During my life I have bought a large number of Christmas trees. In the early years the trees were real (not artificial). When I was very young my dad would take me to a tree lot and we would cut down a tree and bring it home. And then when I had my own family I started out the same way. It was during one of those years that I realized the danger of having a real Christmas tree in my house. This is not to say that everyone should not buy a live Christmas tree. But rather look at the surrounding physical conditions before you going to put up the tree and then make a decision whether to buy a live tree or an artificial tree. In my case my house was full of children and pets. I had several cats in the house and they being a curious animal would commonly play with the Christmas tree. This resulted on several occasions the tree to tip over. The trees were usually full of electrical line for all the lights on it. After hearing about a house that was burned down because the Christmas tree caught fire, I decided to do a little more research. I would normally make sure that the tree trunk was placed in water with a little sugar in hope that it would keep the tree young and the needles green.
One year after Christmas was over I took it the tree out behind the house, very far from the house, and I set it on fire just to see how hot it would get. I was amazed at how quickly it went up in flames and out supremely hot the heat was from the fire. I then realized that there would be no saving the house or anyone in it should my Christmas tree catch on fire. So it was in that year that I decided to buy an artificial Christmas tree. There is truly a large selection in the type of tree you can buy. I can remember in the 1960s that people bought Christmas trees made out of silver are completely flocked with white fake snow. Once I decided I wanted a natural looking artificial tree (what irony) probably 5 foot tall, artificial tree. I must’ve brought out five boxes of just ornaments to put on the tree. So by the time the tree was finished being decorated it was severely overdone. So the next year the tree got taller and the boxes got fuller of ornaments as it became a family tradition to give other family members a tree ornaments for Christmas. Eventually the tree, which was at least 9 foot tal, would take up a good portion of the room in which it was placed. I would set up a system of electrical outlets with surge protectors and then try to hide them somewhere behind or under the tree. The cost of the ornaments went from very inexpensive to very expensive. The view of a very simple Christmas tree with lights and a few ornaments gave way to very like serious looking Christmas trees with but a little bit of the actual tree showing. During those years the Christmas tree was as large as possible so it could accommodate all the gifts that were going to be placed under it. It almost always was placed next to a window in the house so that the neighbors and passerby’s could see that my family celebrating Christmas.
Since those days my young children have grown to be parents and they also place Christmas trees in their homes. The debate still goes on between the families about whether to use a natural Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree. At least one son is experiencing the” I’ve got to have a bigger tree this year”. He and his wife have decided to go from a 9 foot tree to a 12 or 15 foot tree. And another son will place a very small tree in his house. Each of them will have the debate about whether to buy a live Christmas tree (although I don’t know how alive it is after it is cut) or an artificial tree. As always they will fill the trees with both personally made and professionally made ornaments. And of course all the trees Christmas tree lights.
I am happy that my children are carrying on the tradition of the Christmas tree. It is a symbol of joy and it becomes a labor of love after all the years. No matter where you are in life he should have a Christmas tree. Even when I was divorced and living in a very small apartment I put a 3 foot tall very anemic looking tree in the apartment. I was reminded of the cartoon character Charlie Brown and his pathetic looking little Christmas tree. Even something that small brings to mind the joys of Christmas. No matter what religion you are and no matter what you call this time of year, it seems to have evolved into a season a joy for all.
Our tree this year was downsized from last year’s tree. Now that it is just the wife and I, we do not need the same amount of space under the tree to place presents. Probably like most couples a who have been married a long time, they’re just a few presents for Christmas. We seem to think it’s Christmas all year long as we try to buy everything we want during the year and special request are addressed on Christmas. But no matter how many presents, there will always be some sort of package under the tree. Whether you’re six years old or 60 years old it is still a site that brings joy and happiness. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I hope that your tradition includes a Christmas tree in your life.