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Hi, I'm Darryll and I live in Pullman, Washington with my wife and two kids. I'm a licensed Architect and am employed as a Project Manager at Washington State University. In addition, I have my own business doing residential designs in the greater Palouse area. I am a self-taught pianist, song-writer and singer and am involved in the music department at my local church.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Memories - The Tree

The simple joys of childhood at Christmas. This time of year typically causes us all to reflect on our family life growing up. I was very blessed, as I’ve mentioned before, to have been part of a great, caring and loving family. Sure, we had our problems and quirks just like any other family, but we had a foundation of love – mentioned or not – and that was one of the ties that bound us together.

Some of my memories at this time of year are special ones. I remember after having decorated the house for Christmas, I would often just cuddle up on the couch and gaze at the wonder of the decorations.

The tree was very special. We always had a real one, but never anything fancy. It wasn’t ever a Charlie Brown tree, but it was also never a Noble Fir. Usually just an average pine bought at the local department store lot.

Decorating the tree was always a family affair. There were too many cool things to miss out on if you didn’t help. We had tons of great ornaments. Mom would buy one set of new ornaments each Christmas and would diligently write the year on each box so we would all know when they were bought. Some were tacky, some were cool, some were kind of lame, but they all played a part in the memories of each Christmas as we put them up.

We would put the lights on first. These were smaller version of the outdoor lights that got hot and caused more than a few burn spots on our rug over the years. Mom usually had to put these up while we waited impatiently to start doing everything else.

There were the ornaments each of us kids had made at one time in a grade school class that were so important to have in plain sight. Mine was a little cutout of my singing head glued on a wooden sherbet spoon wrapped with a construction paper angel robe and stovepipe harms holding a hymnal… I was a little angel!

There was the collection of handmade Santa Clauses. There were some from all four of us kids: the ones with rotating arms and legs using paper fasteners; the ones just cutout, the ones with cotton glued on for the beard, coat sleeves and waist and the top of the boots. All of them meticulously colored (quality dependent on our age at the time of creation) and all with our names and the date written on the back. There were even a couple from when my mom was a kid… still carefully preserved and hung with pride every year.

There were the construction paper links garland that my brother and I made as a gift for the family one year; and the handmade needlecraft ornaments from my Nana; and the special top that we put on every year.

We all loved hanging tinsel – we called them icicles – and we had the old boxes of the ones that had *gasp* LEAD in them. They weren’t the cheap mylar ones you get today so they hung straight and were beautiful – oh, and none of us, or our cats who liked to eat them – ever had an illnesses due to lead poisoning.

The tree was the center of our decorations and a focal point of the house during the Christmas season. What memories do you have of your family Christmas tree?

7 comments:

Hairball T. Hairball said...

Reading about your homemade ornaments reminded me of one I made in kindergarten. It was made out of one of those foam trays that meat is sold in at the grocery store. Someone had cut it out in the shape of an airplane and I doused the middle section with glue and multi-colored glitter.

I was quite the artist! lol

Blast from the Past said...

..and when I read yours, I remembered another thing we had. We made these flour and salt and who-knows-what-else concoction, added food coloring and made candy canes, icicles, rings, etc and stuck tree hangers in them. Then they would get hard and become permanent ornaments. They were very heavy,though...

Hairball T. Hairball said...

I remember those flour ones!

LaraAnn said...

Mom would let my brother and I put up the ornaments and she would do the rest. We had a real tree in the 80s and I think in 79 too. My favourite decorations were the handmade ones from our grade school Christmas bazaars and from friends and family.

Blast from the Past said...

I think that's one of things that helps Christmas be so special to us. We'd see all the things that we had made as kids over the years and realize that we had a loving family atmosphere in which we'd grown up!

abitosunshine said...

Thanks for taking me back to Christmas trees past! For many years, way back then, I always made all my ornaments. And my favorite thing was tinsel on my tree, each strand individually placed, thousands of them, I just loved the sparkle of it all.

Great post for iWriteiBlogiWin!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

I still love to gaze at our tree.

When I was little I remember 3 things.

1. My dad always put up the star and made a big deal out of it like he was going to tip the tree over in the process - it was funny.

2. The yellow angel that I made in 1st grade always got mocked and put in an unimportant spot.

3. The other ornaments I made when little also were always put in the back of the tree.

So I made it a point to have my girls make the most horrible ornaments and give them to my folks for their tree just as payback. And we put the right in the front and center. My mom cringes every time.

It is total payback!