Growing up Italian and Catholic, decorating the house for the holiday season was more than just a tradition, it was a ritual. The large rubber maid containers that were in the attic and basement would make their annual pilgrimage either up or down the stairs for another year of decorating. Then there was the Christmas tree. I have heard many a Christmas tree story over the years and certainly can tell a few my-self. When I was a kid, the Christmas tree purchase actually had a two part story.
The first part is my parents insisted on buying a tree with the entire root ball so it would stay nice and fresh and the entire house had the scent that so made the house smell like Christmas. The second part of the story is after the holiday season the tree would be planted outside and added to the landscaping in the yard. My dad even thought through pre digging the hole in the ground in case we had extended freezing weather. My dad had this idea of creating a border between our house and the neighbor’s house using Christmas trees. As years went by, the border became longer and the trees that were first planted became much larger. Only blue spruce trees were used and they grew pretty fast. Eventually the border was complete but the first tree was now too tall so introduce the chain saw. Is that ironic or what? After that we switched to an artificial tree.
When Cathy and I first got married and began raising our children, the live Christmas tree tradition was resurrected. Part of that tradition was trudging through rows of trees at the tree farm to find the perfect size and shape. It always seemed to be the coldest day with at least a foot of snow on the ground. Armed with a hand saw and a blanket off we marched. Cutting the tree down was one thing, dragging it back to the car and tying it onto the roof of the car was another. A tree always looks smaller in the field, much bigger when on the roof of the car and bigger than that when finally in the stand in the living room. I will never forget Cathy’s scream when a mouse that was evidently living in the tree ran across the living room as we were setting the tree in the stand. Decorating was paused until the mouse was found and escorted from the house. Since then, we have been using an artificial tree.
Let’s go back to those rubber maid containers. They contained memories of Christmas past. Some items are from Cathy and my childhoods. Many items are various decorations our children made when they were small. I think every tree has at one time or another had an elbow macaroni ornament of some type or a miniature picture frame with a photo of a child smiling and missing their “two front teeth”. Don’t forget, there is always something covered with way too much Elmer’s glue and different colors of red, green and silver glitter. Remember the clothes pin reindeer using pipe cleaners for antlers? As each one of these ornaments or decorations awakens from its annual hibernation, the following words are spoken in rapid fire. “Remember this one”? Of course the ornaments from various vacations over the years make their way into those containers.
Reliving memories and creating new ones are basically what holiday traditions are all about. Have fun with those you love this holiday season. Good health to all.
Until the Next Tom’s Take…………