Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Christmas tree has changed a lot in the past few years. The live tree is disappearing and being replaced by the artificial tree or none at all. Several years ago it was common to see lots in town filled with trees for sale by service clubs and other organizations. Trees for sale were also stacked in front of almost every grocery store. These don’t exist anymore. Now days we see lots and stores filled with pumpkins for sale before Halloween but Christmas trees have almost vanished.

I grew up in East Texas, so, a couple of weeks before Christmas, we would go out into the woods and cut a fresh pine tree. It smelled great and was so green and fresh it wouldn’t think of catching on fire. The few trees we have today come from the north somewhere and must have been cut months before December. They are kindling before they reach the customer and are ready to spontaneously combust. People start decorating right after Halloween and there is no way a live tree can stay fresh through New Years.

When I was a kid, I got to do most of the tree decorating. I would make ring links out of construction paper and drape them around the tree. We put those large lights with different colors on the tree rather than the tiny white ones of today. I liked the red bulbs the most, and white was considered sort of ugly. The fun part was putting on the icicles and then crowning the tree with a star. Angel hair was also another popular decoration. To me, those were the golden years of the Christmas tree.

We then went through a phase of buying flocked trees, which made it look like it had snowed in the house. These were a mess and didn’t last too long. The first artificial tree for us, was the aluminum tree that was the tackiest tree ever devised. The metal tree was also an electrical hazard and simply no fun to decorate. Then came the artificial tree of today, which already has the little white lights attached. If you get close, it is pretty obvious why it is called an artificial tree. These trees don’t look like any real variety I have ever seen, and they cost more than several tanks of gasoline. Many of the artificial trees come from China and contain lead based paint, so, will kill you if eaten.

The Christmas tree has now become politically incorrect. Some towns have been criticized for having them erected anywhere for public display during what has now become known as the Holiday Season rather than Christmas. The word Christ has been completely removed and replaced with an X, and it is more politically correct to just say the Season or Holiday. The tree has also disappeared from schools. My grandkids tell me they are not allowed to display a Christmas tree at school because it might offend some other religious group.

To make matters worse, there is no place for me to cut a tree anymore, so, I have one of those artificial ones on the porch. It is much smaller than the trees of my childhood and has so many fancy ornaments I have a hard time seeing any green. We also have a second smaller tree that has fake pine cones; it’s a pitiful thing to see, but does help me conjure up memories of those golden years. The most pitiful thing of all is today’s prevailing attitude about Christmas and doing what is politically correct. To all this, I say, Bah Humbug!!


Blogger jeff ludwick said...

Doc, you have described the Chhristmas trees of my childhood perfectly! It was one of the highlights of the year to go cut a tree with my grandparents and take it back to our house and get the sugar water and 7-Up ready to try to keep it alive. Our teachers would let us make the contruction paper rings right after Thanksgiving and we never had the same kinds twice. My mother would give each of us one package of icicles to put on the tree and that was a major event. We never got to have angel hair because she was afraid my little brother would eat it or get it in his eyes.....
The bulbs were huge, weren't they!!! I would put several of the same color in line just to make my sister mad. The most fun for me always came after Christmas when my dad would let me burn our tree in the pasture out back. The dead tree combined with icicles made for great fun. My fun continued over the years until I began collecting all of the neighbors trees and burning them all at once in a bonfire. Just like that I was told to "cut back or else."

thank you for sending me back to a time and place when Christmas was really special and innocent. I miss it desperately.

12:09 PM  

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