01 December 2012

ACCM: December 1, The Christmas Tree

Throughout the month of December, I will happily be participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories blogging prompts, from Geneabloggers

December 1, 2012: The Christmas Tree

Winter in Enumclaw, Washington.
Photo Copyright M.T. Photo,
used with permission.
Oh, the tree. One of my favorite things. I grew up in rural Washington state, southeast of Seattle. Dairy cows, logging and a pickle factory dominated my childhood environment commercial world. We lived on about two acres of land, less than a mile from my Grandparents home and the farm they retired from. With Mt. Rainier constantly in our sights, my outdoor world was incredibly important to me. Bringing the outside in for a week or so at Christmas was a true joy. 

Our tree was always this: short, stout and still alive. We purchased tree's that still had the root ball attached, tree's that you had to water every day so it would remain healthy enough through a week in the house. We typically brought it in just a day or two before Christmas Eve, and decorating was always a family ordeal. It meant more than just the tree, it was the nativity scene, the decorations around the rest of the house. Meeting the objective of making the house feel like Christmas. 

The tree was short. We had a large tub it sat in, usually on top of the coffee table, and a home made tree skirt was draped around to cover it, and make it "pretty."  The angel on top was the same each year, fragile and delicate; my parents still have her. Tinsel, lights, ornamental balls... we all had our special favorites. I had a white wooden stocking, with a picture of a bear hanging out the top. Sometime during my childhood, I really don't know when, it was a craft project of sorts, and I glued my initials to it. It hangs on my tree today.

My childhood ornament, a little worn, but still with me.
Photo copyright Ancestral Journeys, 2012.

After Christmas day, as in, the day after, the tree was taken apart.  Dismantled, and everything packed back up. It was important that it was done efficiently, because the tree was still alive. Dad would have prepped the spot, sometimes we helped him pick, sometimes not. The tree was taken outside and put in the ground, where it would grow. It would be our Christmas tree for years. The entire front border of the property was lined with trees, from year's of special holidays. 

 Our family property through the ages...

Image taken in the 1920's or 30s. Notice, not a single
tree in front of the house.
Personal archives of author.

Photo taken about 1976-1977, when my parents were the
perspective buyers. My grandparents took the picture and
sent it to my parents.
Personal archives of author.

The entire property, year unknown.
Notice the start of the tree collection along the road at the very
front of the property.
Copyright M.T. Photo, used with permission.

The front yard as I remember it. It's stamped May 1985, so the
smaller tree center right would have been a recent addition,
possibly from December, 1984.
Copyright M.T. Photo, used with permission.