As a young child we always had a real tree for Christmas. The only fake one that I was familiar with was the one my Aunt Doris had and it looked something like this , complete with a color wheel that turned the tree from red, to blue, to yellow, and then green. Of course I thought it was spectacular - what child wouldn't?
My family's trees were less glitter and glitz but to me, just as beautiful. We celebrated with a real tree purchased off the corner tree lot. I really don't remember but I'd like to think we went as a family to pick it out. I do remember a big white enamel pot that we used to hold the tree. We stacked rocks inside it to keep the tree from tipping over and it always took awhile to get in there just right.
I remember the big colored lights we used Every year when they came off the tree the lights were wrapped around a rolled up magazine or newspaper. This was to keep them neat and tidy but they always seemed to still be a tangled mess the following year.
The Christmas balls were made of glass and had to be packed carefully away
At one point we made some balls of our own using styrofoam balls, wrapped in satin thread. These balls were decorated using straight pins, sequins, and beads.
We also hung tinsel icicles which had to be put on the tree's branches one strand at a time. It was a process that took forever. As the youngest, I was less patient than my older sister and was perfectly content throwing them on in big clumps - something that didn't go over so well with her. Eventually I learned the error of my ways and dutifully followed the process of hanging them one strand at a time. After a while the icicles were replaced with long strands of tinsle garland which were wrapped around the tree and was much easier to decorate with. Although the garland came in many color choices, we stuck with traditional silver and gold.
Oh how I loved the whole process of setting the tree up, putting on the decorations and sitting back and admiring the finished product. In this child's eyes our tree was just as beautiful as the flashy one Aunt Doris had.
Here's a photo that Santa took of our tree in 1962. The tree was too tall for a topper so we put it off to the side. It wasn't the usual angel or star, we had a Santa head! When my brother and his newlywed wife went to live in Germany, complements of Uncle Sam, Mother sent them the Santa head so they'd have bit of Christmas from home in their tiny apartment thousands of miles away. I don't remember what we used for a topper after that and I'm pretty sure my sister never forgave Mother for sending the Santa head away. I thought he was sorta creepy looking but she loved it. I wonder if they still have it?
Later that morning someone took my picture with the camera Santa left. Don't you just love the bushy head of hair? This was the year I got my Thumbelina doll, the table and chairs, a film strip projector, and a bowling set. I was five years old. Do you think that's too old for wearing footie pj's?!
1968 - was that tree fat or what? And leaning ... it cracks me up to see that I am leaning right along it!
Here we are a year later and we finally have color. You can see where we've replaced icicles with garland. At the time I thought it was beautiful, now .... not so much! It probably didn't look quite so bad initially but we always had a cat or two in the house and I'm pretty sure one had wreaked havoc with it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
It was around this time Daddy got his super 8 movie camera and he focused more on making movies than taking still shots. I couldn't find any other childhood photos of our family trees. I'm sure there are some out there somewhere but who knows where. Also, I can't tell you when but at one point we ditched the real tree and jumped on the artificial tree bandwagon. Our's wasn't silver with a spotlight that changed colors though, we stuck with the more traditional fake Fraser fir. Why'd we make the change? So we could put it up early of course! The day after Thanksgiving became our traditional tree trimming day.
So, what do you remember about your childhood Christmas trees?