Advent Calendar Day 1 ~ The Christmas Tree

[Reprinted ~ Advent Calendar Day 1 ~ The Christmas Tree  from Dec. 2009]

For as long as I can remember, my family had an artificial Christmas tree. I can't remember anyone in my immediate family ever having a live tree.

My grandparents had a white flocked artificial tree for a few years which I thought was magnificent. I believe this tree was decorated with red glass bulbs. If I were to look at the tree today I would think it belonged in a department store. And the flocking? What a mess!
When I was around 9 years old or so, my mother chose to have a silver aluminum Christmas tree. I remember this tree seemed so phony to me. I loved the sparkle and the shine, but it didn't remind me of a real tree. I suppose that is what I expected, something that at least looked like a real tree, especially if we didn't have the actual thing.
Are you aware that there is an Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum named ATOM? It is the only museum in the world dedicated to vintage trees of this type. The museum is located on Brevard, North Carolina. They are celebrating the 50th year since the invention of the aluminum Christmas tree. You can see more regarding the museum at ATOM'S site, here,
Beyond the aluminum tree era, my mother decorated an artificial tree which looked like a real tree, and I was in heaven. She had to have every ornament strategically placed and tinsel hanging by just two strands at a time. In other words, her tree had to be perfect and she always did all the decorating. She was anal that way. As I decorated my tree this year I wondered if I was like my mother. Was I as anal? I place my ornaments on the tree fairly strategically but I can toss 5, 6 or 10 strands of tinsel in any given spot.
As a teenager during rainy nights I loved sitting by the tree which was proudly displayed in the front room window. Listening to the rain, looking out into the darkness and then at the sparkle of the Christmas lights on the tree always had me "daydreaming." Music in the background added the perfect finishing touch.
After I ventured out on my own I had living trees. I couldn't smell the trees and they never decorated the quite the same. Twelve years or so of that was enough for me, I bought an artificial tree. I was never happier! I didn't have to worry about watering, picking up dead needles, my house catching on fire, or that I couldn't smell the tree. I don't have to go out and try to find a tree every year, and over all it is cheaper. I can start setting up my tree as early as I want (it is never before Thanksgiving though) and hang the heaviest ornaments I can find (almost) on almost any given branch.
About 15 years ago I started wrapping my lights around each branch of the tree. This would take me eight hours alone to do. It looks so clean and neat, no wires, and there are so many lights, which I love! During the last few years I haven't been as adamant about lighting my tree this way, as time just doesn't allow for it. Most years my tree has 13-15 strands of lights on it as you can see in this picture from last year.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

This is in participation of Thomas MacEntee's (GeneaBlogger fame) Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

Copyright © 2010 By Cheryl Palmer


  1. I love the photo of the tree taken at night....there are never too many lights!

  2. Your tree is gorgeous!!
    I also love sitting in a darkened room with only the tree lights on, listening to soft Christmas music. It's one of my favorite things about Christmas.

  3. wow! so many lights! I love that. I'm kind of picky about my icicles but hopefully not in your mother's class.

  4. You have a beautiful tree! We always had a artificial tree growing up as well. The first two years hubby and I were married we had a real tree. But since then it's been back to an artificial one to.

  5. What a beautiful tree. You really know how to light em up!

  6. Thanks for the link - that is fabulous and brings back memories of our aluminum tree. I'll have to try your method for getting more lights on the tree - it's so much fun to enjoy the lights in the dark.

  7. Thank you everyone for your comments. This year it only took me two days to get the tree up. I had it complete,except for the icicles, and then strands of lights started going out...took it all apart and started again. It is now brilliantly lit once again!


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