2015:Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Trees – # 1

Advent Calendar: December 1st, 2015

Christmas Trees: Post # 1image

Christmas Trees: Post # 1

From now until Christmas Eve, I will be participating in the 2015 Edition of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories by Thomas MacEntee and the Geneabloggers. If you would like to know more or even join in, please see This Link. I’d like to personally thank Dawn Williams-Kogutkiewicz of Dawning Genealogy for sharing this idea on Genealogy Bloggers.

What are your memories of your family putting up the Christmas tree? Many of us come from different traditions: some people won’t put up their tree until after Thanksgiving or even on Christmas Eve? Some like live trees and actually go out into the woods to cut their own while others prefer the convenience of an artificial tree. Write about anything related to Christmas trees and your memories of Christmases past.

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My husband Steve and I with Melissa (abt. 1983)

I will be writing my memories  in collaboration with my husband’s. It will be a comparison of Southern vs Northern celebrations.

My Memories: I was born and grew up in the Southern state of Georgia;  The first five years were spent in the small town of Union Point and then we moved to Perry – often known as the “heart of Georgia”. It was never really cold at Christmas and never do I remember snow on the ground.

Most people have memories of going out with their parents to look for a tree – but I seem to only have one memory of that. Where did my holiday memories go? I think we often spent Christmas at my Grandparents (McKinley) farm and one year I do remember going to a field nearby to look for a tree. Daddy cut it down and we brought it back to their farm.

They had no decorations and I’m not sure why, but my mother and I made them that year for the tree. She drew a star shape and cut it out of cardboard and  covered it in tin foil. I gathered nuts and pinecones from the yard to make ornaments; my mother was always very crafty. We strung popcorn later, adding berries for color. Later I remember making paper chains for garland.

Mama always said I never was interested in Christmas –and it made her so upset that no matter what she did, I showed no excitement. Maybe that’s why I never buried any Christmas memories in my brain. (I couldn’t find one picture of a Christmas tree in all my family photos)

At our house in Perry, I remember all the silver tinsel we threw all over the tree. Mama tried to save some whenever we took the tree down, but that was almost an impossible thing!

The one thing I definitely remember is Mama always making sure our tree was down and out of the house before the New Year! I think that is more of a Southern tradition of having the tree out of the house; she always said it was considered “Bad Luck” to have the old tree up in the New Year.

My Husband’s Memories:  I was born in New Haven, Ct., but grew up all my life in West Haven. By the time Christmas came, it was cold and often snow on the ground; everyone wished for a white Christmas.

We usually didn’t get our tree until about two weeks before Christmas; the holidays weren’t as commercial as they are today. There were Xmas tree lots set up all over West Haven, wherever there was free space, someone opened up a tree lot. A typical tree lot were lights strung over the tops of trees clustered together,  many sitting on those “x” stands – and it seems like Silent Night was always playing. Most times it was snowing when we went to pick out our tree – which always put you more in the holiday spirit. Snow on the ground always seemed to make it feel more like Christmas was coming.

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A tree at my husbands family home in West Haven, CT.

It was usually the four of us, me, my brother and parents that went to look for the tree. All the lots were the same, so my father probably stopped at the first one we found. And I guess they weren’t picky, as I don’t remember us looking for a long time. We went there, found a tree, tied it on top of the car and home we went. Most times, we even put it up that same night.

Our Memories:  Steve and I always had an artificial tree, not sure why, but we did. A few years ago, after my grown kids nagged me to get a real tree – we did – and what a mess it made. We went back to our tried and true and less messy – an artificial tree.

Not having to go out looking for a tree every year, saved time and I thought money; you used the same tree, year after  year, until you tired of it or wanted a different look. I can’t even try to estimate how many trees we have bought over our 44 years of marriage. I probably have three or four of different shapes and sizes packed away right now.

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Celebrating with our dog Samson (Samoyed)

Putting up the Christmas tree seemed to have more meaning to me after I married, and even more so when  the children came  – Christmas became an exciting time of year; children make the holidays! It was always hubby putting up the tree, me sitting on the sidelines being the critic – its crooked, or I don’t like it there, could you move it over!  Next, were the lights, another hubby job! I think it became my job to finally decorate as I don’t remember him hanging ornaments, although now he does. I’ve come home from work some years to find it totally up and decorated. Maybe it’s easier and faster to do it without the critic being home!

Now we have five granddaughters – so Christmas has become an exciting time of year again – seeing it through their eyes. They’re parents are making memories with them of going to the Christmas tree farm to look for that special tree, chop it down and tie it on their roof! Hopefully they won’t forget their memories like I did.

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Xmas 2014 – All five granddaughters, daughter and daughter in law!

Soon we will begin the hunt to find our trees and decide which one will go up this year. That will depend on what we want to remove from the living room in order to accommodate the tree. Putting up the tree is the first start of getting in the Christmas spirit.

Like to read more ~ Click on 2015: Advent Calendar of Christmas

© 2015 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco


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