I’ll be the first to admit what a strange strange tradition it is to take a live pine tree, set it up in your house and hang ornaments on it. There’s a great Wiki entry on the Christmas tree. Gotta love those pagan rituals! I think it’s cool that the lights on a Christmas tree used to be real candles. As I don’t think burning down your house is cool, I stick with lights. I miss using tinsel (since we put our tree outside after the holidays and decorate it for the birds, tinsel is a no-no). I also really really miss the environmentally unfriendly but super fun spray snow foam you could use on your tree. Nothing says “America” like foamy snow in a spray can!
Growing up we would head to a tree farm outside of Syracuse during the summer and choose the tree we would cut down in December. We’d tag it with our name and draw a little map in our heads so we could get to it in a few months. Come December, we’d bundle up, spend hours looking for the tree, cut the sucker down and drag it to our car. This year, Craig, Ella and I headed to a tree farm to cut our own where you could honestly spit and hit a gorgeous tree. There was no real dilemma in which one to choose because they were all perfect. Our biggest issue was getting it to the car and realizing that while the tree would fit in our house, fitting it in the Toyota Matrix was a horse of a different color. Poor Ella got squashed and kept saying “Oh, I wish we didn’t pick this tree!”
When Craig and I got married in 2000 I got a new batch of Christmas ornaments from when he was a kid. One of my favorites is a section of Styrofoam egg carton with “Craig” written on it and a loop of pipe cleaner for hanging on the tree. I’m pretty sure this ornament is nearing 34 years old:
Something I petitioned to get rid of almost immediately is Creepy Santa. He wasn’t always called Creepy Santa, as Craig said it was what his family put on the top of the tree when he was a kid. You can’t argue with traditions like that and, therefore, Creepy Santa would be staying (but not on the top of our tree). Creepy Santa scares the bejesus out of me but I have grown to appreciate him, especially since you haven’t quite lived until you’ve heard your preschooler shout with glee “Look! It’s Creepy Santa!!!”:
Of course, the ornaments I have from my childhood are not perfect. There’s one in particular we call The Christmas Basket of Death. When I was 8 or 9 I had the thought to make ornaments for my family. A visit to the craft store with $3 yielded Santa Claus ribbon, tiny baskets, even tinier wooden mice and – what every Christmas is lacking – the tiniest mouse traps, baited with cheese, ready for mouse-free Christmas miracles. “ Twas' The Night Before Christmas” is all true - not a creature was stirring, and, once The Christmas Basket of Death is hung up, not even a mouse: