The Family Christmas Tree

Tomorrow is the official Christmas Tree arrival day here in Hawaii. Hundreds of large refrigerated containers of trees from the Northwest arrive in Honolulu and they go on sale on Friday. The trees were cut at the end of October, or the first of November, and they shipped here on large Matson cargo ships. When they get here they have the fresh pine smell but within a couple of weeks the trees begin to dry out, and by Christmas day, the needles are falling off.

I remember back to my youth in upstate New York, and my family's yearly quest for the perfect Scotch Pine to be our Christmas tree. This mission usually started on the second weekend in December. My mother had very exacting requirements for our tree. It had to be a perfectly formed Scotch Pine six feet tall. It had to be decorated in all blue lights with plenty of tinsel…..the real metallic tinsel.

I can recall, even at 3 or 4 years old my father and I, and later my brothers, would drive out in the country and walk into the woods until we found the ideal tree. We would chop it down and wrap it in burlap and drag it back to the car. Then we would go back into the woods and gather several large pine boughs from various pine trees to use in building wreaths and other decorations for our house. Then we would drive home having not spent a penny for a tree, or our wreaths.

If the tree passed my mother's inspection, it was taken inside and placed in a large stand so that it stood perfectly straight, and centered on a large piece of fuzzy white cloth that had my electric model train running in a circle around the base of the tree. Water was placed into the bowl of the stand, and my mother's secret formula for tree preservation mixed in. Then, under the careful supervision of my mother, we would take the decorations out of their boxes and we would arrange the blue lights, a couple of silvery ropes and a few silver ornaments on the tree. Then the tinsel was carefully arranged on each branch of the tree. My mother would always rearrange a few things and then declare that the tree was decorated to her specifications.

The fresh tree filled the house with the scent of pine throughout the holidays and all who visited our house during that time would comment on what a wonderful tree we had and how beautifully it was decorated. This always made my mother very happy.

On New Years day the tree came down and all the decorations boxed and stored for the next years tree.
mach2821 mach2821
61-65, M
Nov 23, 2011