Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Day 1
We always had a real Christmas tree. My Dad was in charge of the tree. And no matter what my parents could afford he always came back with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, then tried to convince the rest of us there was nothing wrong with it.
To us it was a tree to display. To my Dad it was another chore. No doubt he knew the guy who ran the lot. They’d talk for an hour. My Dad would grab the first tree he saw and bring it home.
The trees were worth a good laugh. One year there was a big hole that barely made it to the back. Another year, there were so few branches we stuffed it with tinsel just to make it look like something.
When we became teenagers, we took over the duties for my Dad. A couple of times we went out to the tree farm and cut our own.
But, when everyone moved out and it was just my Dad and I, it was back to the Charlie Brown trees.
When we got Sierra, we put the tree on a table because she was too intrigued by it. And, her tail was so swift that she would knock off ornaments from the lower branches.
We always bought a five to six foot tree. This size was perfect for the table with enough room for me to make a little village with a train underneath.
One year, he brought home a tree and try to convince me it was 6 feet tall. I am only 4 foot 10 inches tall and it was shorter than me! Needless to say, half the ornaments stayed in their boxes that year.
Then there was the mysterious tree. We had it up on the table for a couple of days before decorating it. This tree bugged the hell out of me. There was something wrong with it. I’d sit in the rocking chair and contemplate it.
Two days after he put it up on the table, I had the light on behind it and I realized that I could see the wall! I hadn’t really taken a close up look at the tree until that point. When I got close enough I realized what was wrong. The tree only had pine needles half way up the branches! The rest had fallen off and it was hollow up the middle.
In some ways, it made me angry. These tree lot workers were charging my Dad $25-$30 for a five foot tree and they were selling him trees that looked bad even before they were cut down.
On the hand, it was one of those things that we laughed at every year. My Dad had many good qualities. But, for the life of him, he couldn’t pick out a Christmas tree!
I couldn’t find any photos of those trees. I suspect no one wanted to remember them. Still, I can’t think of my Dad and Christmas without thinking about Charlie Brown Christmas Trees.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com