I guess for me it officially becomes Christmas when the Christmas tree goes up at home.
Growing up that meant it was time to get serious about Christmas. We always had a cut Christmas tree bought in town. The only place I ever came in contact with a fake tree while I was young was at my grandmother’s house. She had one of those shiny aluminum trees that had all the same color ornaments and a little revolving floodlight.
After we were first married, my wife and I always put up fresh trees. But her mother, by that time, only put up a little white ceramic tree with tiny multi-color lights. I thought the little tree was cool but it didn’t seem like quite enough Christmas spirit to me.
I was floored the other day when I came out of the office and the second-hand store next door had nearly the same little ceramic tree lit up in their window. It brought back memories of Christmas Eves spent at my in-laws’ house.
Over the years we bought our trees and we cut a good number of them. I cut some pretty scraggly looking ones. My wife, on the other hand, would always point out a tree that wouldn’t fit in the living room if we cut it in half.
One of the best trees we ever cut was one we fetched about six miles from town, up a canyon road covered with 8-12 inches of snow. The dogs had a blast tunneling around in the snow and dragging the tree back was easy. The old dog we have now was just a pup then and the short-haired pooch was so chilled when we loaded up that I wrapped him up in my coat and my wife held him on the way home.
Several years ago I decided that part of the winter congestion and sinus problems we both experienced were probably related to a cut Christmas tree so, we bought our first artificial tree. Besides it was politically incorrect to kill a tree to celebrate the birth of Jesus and those things had become pretty pricey anyway.
I miss tracking down the perfect tree but I don’t miss the dry needles on the carpet and the $65 investment going into the alley or a chipper after a month.
I don’t think I could ever find an aluminum tree like grandma’s but I’m thinking really hard about that ceramic tree in the window.