Tree decorating: last event on the holiday list

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, November 30, 2023

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By Bob Ann Breland

I don’t particularly like Christmas trees! There I’ve said it!

          Perhaps I should rephrase that so I will not be seen as a Scrooge.

          I don’t really dislike Christmas trees as such. I sort of like seeing beautifully and tastefully decorated trees. For some, decorating it is first thing on the holiday to-do list.  For me it is usually the very last thing.

          What I actually dislike is dragging it in the house, putting it up, pulling out the decorations, decorating the tree and cleaning up the mess. Once that is all accomplished I may even like the results. It is getting it all done I dislike…and taking it down.

          I don’t usually hurry to put up a tree. I also call myself a Scrooge for lack of motivation to get it done before Christmas Eve.

          Our late daughter, Robin, knew I disliked putting up a tree and she would come and do it for me. She loved decorating trees for anybody who would let her. We all have tree ornaments made by Robin to place on our trees – in particular individually cross-stitched ornaments, with the name of every family member.

          I suppose that is another reason I hesitate as long as possible to put up a tree. It so reminds me that she is not here and it is my way of avoiding sadness. It is at holidays we particularly remember all those we love who are no longer with us.

          I used to put up a large tree, but I am down to an artificial lighted three-footer. One year I just put a big garbage bag over the little decorated tree and took it to the shed until the next year.

          We used to go find a nice pine tree every year, but the last time we did was after a prolonged drought and the tree died practically overnight. I left it up anyway and it became so dry I was afraid to burn the lights. When I started to take off the ornaments, it was so brittle the limbs tried to eat me alive!

          I had a large really nice artificial tree I used a few years. One year I took it out to decorate and the trunk was missing. I couldn’t figure out how a tree trunk could be missing when it had all been packed back in the box. I never did find that trunk and finally tossed the tree.

          I bought another nice big one and used a couple of years. Space in the den became a problem to put up a big tree. It is packed away in a box somewhere near the bottom of the storage shed.

          So I am back to my little three-footer, which sits nicely on a small table and takes up very little space. I have enough ornaments in one box for decorations, which eliminates a lot of mess…and stress.

          I did not get this feeling for Christmas trees from my mother. She loved Christmas and everything that went along with the holiday from baking and cooking, family gatherings, decorations, buying and wrapping presents.

          When we were children, we went into the woods to find a tree and also gathered armloads of holly with berries and pine boughs for extra decorating. The pine would make the house smell so good. What wonderful memories. With only a fireplace for heat, the live decorations would last for a long time, unlike in today’s centrally heated homes.

          Maybe the Mile Branch Christmas event this weekend will help me catch the spirit. I promise not to procrastinate too long over my tree. I will probably go get it, take it out of the box and put it up. Maybe tomorrow…or next week….or maybe not at all. I really need a little motivation!