The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! —Charles Barnard
Through the years, trees have changed and evolved with the times and the fads of the minute. For instance, in the 1800s during a period of worry about deforestation, the Germans created feather trees made out of goose feathers dyed green. They were sometimes tipped with artificial red berries that acted as candleholders.
During the '40s and '50s, flocked trees were all the rage. My mother had one for years. The live tree was first sprayed with water and then, using a kit which came in blue, pink or white, it was created using a vacuum cleaner. Flocked trees can be very pretty but what a mess to prepare and then keep cleaned up.
Aluminum Christmas trees had a good 10-year run. They are still available, but they definitely are not something seen often. If this information is new, go to YouTube and see some of the short videos with the color wheels turning them all sorts of colors.
Another type of artificial tree is the fiber optic one. There are videos of them also, and they can be quite beautiful.
Here's a tale about my first attempt at decorating a tree.
Picture a small Christmas tree trimmed with blue lights — all blue lights. After we moved east, I realized it was more of a Hanukkah bush than a Christmas tree.
As I look back now, I do wonder why Grit didn't complain about the blue lights, but he never did. I think newlywed guys, especially guys with morals, are happy with anything domestic and will eat food their mothers swear never touched their lips because of the conjugal bed.
It has been so long ago, December 1960 as a matter of fact, that I cannot even remember what possessed me to choose only blue lights for a Christmas tree. Perhaps it was Elvis singing "Blue Christmas," or that sudden competitiveness one gets to do something smashing so all your friends will think you are clever. When young and newly in love, one tends to do silly romantic things like that.
Remember O. Henry's story in the "Gift of the Magi?" Perhaps in my mind's eye I saw Della giving the watch chain to her Jim, who had sold his watch to buy combs for the hair she had sold to buy her present for him — so touching and romantic. And of course, for me at that time, their gifts would need to be exchanged under the light of a blue Christmas tree.
Years passed before those blue lights started burning out one by one. In a way it was a bit sad as I would toss one after another away — like throwing away a piece of a magic time bit by bit.
For a few years, I lavishly decorated theme trees, but our kids didn't like them. They wanted one we hiked into the mountains to cut down. They wanted to put all their handmade ornaments or the ones they remembered from year to year with lots of colored lights on the tree, and that is what we stuck with.
That is until now, with our artificial, already-lit Christmas tree. Less expensive, easier to deal with and if we aren't at home for periods of time it won't catch fire.
It's OK to be practical. A woman named Charlotte Carpenter is credited with saying, "Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."
Good rationale as far as I'm concerned.
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