The Christmas Trees of Yore

Everything seems BIG when we are small.

But my childhood Christmas trees really were VERY tall. For scale, I am almost three years old in this photo and I am lost in the bottom branches.

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Unlike other families, we didn’t put up our tree until Christmas eve.

Many years we drove up Breadloaf Mountain and cut our own trees on Middlebury College forest land.

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We waded through the snow, Mommy carrying the loppers and Daddy carrying the same saw as this dad in my 4th picture book: A Year of Beasts.  Back then it seemed we always had snow at Christmastime.

bigsnow'62Then it became the 70s. The trees were still tall and sparse, my mom was more beautiful than ever, my dad still put up the train set, I was always sulking and Peri was always sick in bed on Christmas eve!christmas72

Wild trees are not full and bushy. Dad figured out a way to ‘hang’ the tree from one of the beams in the 2nd floor gallery. The trunk dangled in a bucket of water. I used that idea many years later for this crazy tree.

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One California Christmas I collected and sorted found wood into a tree shape and my elf drilled a hole in the “balance” center of each piece. We found a long piece of fresh kelp and used it as the “rope”. Once all the pieces were strung, we tied a knot at the bottom and hung the tree. It can hang flat like this or in the round. It was fine with lights, but hard to hang with ornaments.

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Now that I’m back in Vermont I must break with tradition. The long, dark nights are too long and dark for an adult to endure without the cheerful glow of a lighted tree. So I’ve compromised. The tree is in a bucket of water and she has lights, but I will wait to add ornaments until Christmas eve.

Brightly shining, for a brief period, in the darkest days of the year.

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7 thoughts on “The Christmas Trees of Yore

    • Thanks Sharalyn, this year we’ll be at the coast again and will probably gather fallen branches, tie them together with twine, hang them on the wall and slather them with lights. The smell and glow are really all I need!

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