Sisterhood Sharing Sessions | Life Lessons Learned | Parenting | Holiday Traditions | The Christmas Tree-Memories Of Childhood: The Book Of Jane Series
What I’ve Learned
Over the years I’ve come to learn and appreciate the importance traditions play in your childhood. Traditions become a foundation from which your life is built upon. When you have them, they are not easily forgotten, and often become the starting point for every childhood memory. Many of my fondest memories are of those things that shaped my beliefs as a child.
The Holiday tradition surrounding Christmas was all about the tree, as such, the ‘Christmas Tree’ in our house had a life of its own.
The Christmas Tree
Finding The Perfect ‘Christmas Tree’
The Christmas Tree in our house had a life of its own, so finding the perfect Christmas Tree was vital to setting the sentiment for the season. My Father always picked out the most magnificent tree. Nice and broad at the bottom with a perfect Tee-Pee trim leading up to the top. The tip of the tree always just shy of touching the ceiling, leaving just enough room for the angel Mother would place perfectly centered at the top. The natural trees were enticing with the deep aroma of pine that permeated the entire house. The smell, Christmas itself. You get lost in the beauty of a strong healthy Spruce. The thick blue-green prickly branches stacked closely together and extended invitingly to receive the garland, Christmas bells and lights, and all the other trinkets that would later adorn it.
Decorating The ‘Christmas Tree’
Decorating the Christmas Tree was a family affair. I liked the years Mother popped fresh popcorn, and me and my Siblings helped string and convert it to garland, but not before popping a few handfuls of the fluffy goodness into our mouths. The popcorn and pine spell together was truly a heavenly scent. Then there was the box of goodies gathered over the years, from Christmas school projects that always made their way onto the tree. It seemed as though the weight of the items over the years would topple the tree, but it only added to its beauty and charm. Mother made sure every item from every child was placed. Of all the things that smothered the Spruce, the single most important decoration that most complemented our efforts were the soft multi-colored bulbs that wrapped the enormous tree from top to bottom. Perfectly spaced, the illuminations from the lights were mystical and mesmerizing. The soft glow engulfed the entire living room and created a peaceful ambiance.
Under The ‘Christmas Tree’
I later learned that Mother saved and planned for months in advance to ensure she obtained just the right gift for each child to place under the Christmas Tree. She was always spot on. She captured our personalities to a tee. Because there was so many of us, there were gift bags protruding from the base of the tree every year. Cloths were always a staple item. Mother would strategically stretch out each apparel item to have the appearance of an abundance of presents. It worked. For us Kids, it didn’t really matter so much what was in our box, just that there were so many to rip open.
Mother knew her Children were little sneaks at Christmas time and that we were on a constant mission to sniff out those presents we knew Mother held back placing under the tree until we were all asleep. We never found one of those presents. Mother invariably succeeded in making the extra gifts an added bonus reserved for Christmas morning.
On Christmas morning, Dad’s role was waking me and my Siblings up at an insanely early hour, usually between 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. to pull our presents from underneath the ever bulging base of the Christmas Tree. We literally had to climb under the prickly Pine to retrieve some of our gifts. This naturally drove my Mother mad. Yet, my Dad was unfazed by her obvious agitation and had no interest in ending this insanity. That routine was his tradition and he was sticking to it. And so, that too became a cherished childhood memory.
By midmorning every present had been retrieved and unwrapped, and all that remained was the ‘Christmas Tree’, in its entire splendor.
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