O, Holiday Tree! O, Holiday Tree!
These are TRUE holiday trees.
The past couple of weeks, we've heard a lot about "holiday trees" vs. "Christmas trees," as people have discussed (and who even knew it was a topic for discussion), "Hey, what shall we call those evergreen trees that we cut down, prop up, and decorate in December? The ones with the stars or angels on top and the presents underneath?" For the record, I vote "Christmas trees."
I do have some experience with holiday trees, though. The three trees above stay up in a hallway of my church, all year round. And they are always decorated according to the holiday of the month or season. Here you see them as Thanksgiving trees. By next week, they'll be Christmas trees. Not long after that, they'll be Valentine's trees. I love it! Two lovely ladies from our church put them up as Christmas trees two years ago, in a spot where we'd never had Christmas trees, and everyone enjoyed them so much, that the lovely ladies just kept them there. I find them quite delightful. And they can, I think, legitimately be called "holiday trees."
I didn't know what it was called at the time, but years ago when I lived in an apartment with Lulu, we had a holiday tree in December. We dragged our tree up the narrow steps to our small apartment in a private home. But when we went to decorate it, we couldn't find the box marked "Christmas." We looked everywhere, and we found decorations for every other holiday, but no Christmas box. We couldn't afford to buy new decorations, so we made do. We decorated the tree with symbols from all the other holidays. Our Christmas tree was decked in Easter eggs, bunnies, American flags, witches, pumpkins, Valentine hearts, shamrocks and turkeys. Each new "ornament" placed on the tree brought a fresh wave of hysterical laughter. It remains one of the most festive trees I've seen, and one of my favorite Christmas memories.
Come to think of it, I also remember my least favorite Christmas tree. When I was about 10 years old, living in rural Delaware, a neighbor went into the woods behind our houses and came out with Christmas trees for his family and ours. The neighbor, Mr. Baker, was an elderly man, and very kind, with sparkling blue eyes and snow-white hair. The tree he gave us was a very nice gesture, except that it wasn't really a tree. It was a huge "sticker bush." That's what I called it then, and I still don't know the proper name for it. It was covered in sharp, prickly, coarse greenery. I guess Mr. Baker's eyesight was bad, and/or he was so bundled up and wearing thick gloves that he couldn't discern much more than the shape of the tree. And the shape was nice. But the tree was a menace!
My parents were raised, and raised us, to be very appreciative of gifts and to show our enthusiasm by wearing, using, eating or displaying them in the giver's presence, whenever possible. They did not make an exception for the sticker bush. While my father poured Mr. Baker a drink, my mother set about decorating the alleged "tree." I kept stage-whispering to her, "It's a sticker bush! This can't be our Christmas tree!" But Mom just shushed me and valiantly decorated on. The tree stayed up through the holidays, until Epiphany, which was (and remains) our tradition. I whined about that tree the whole time. When I walked past it, I'd make a wide detour around it, pretending to fear it, or I'd flatten myself against a wall and slide past it as though I were afraid it would attack me. When my friends came over, I'd caution them dramatically against getting too close to the killer Christmas tree. My parents never scolded me for any of this melodrama, which told me that although they never expressed anything but gratitude for what a thoughtful neighbor Mr. Baker was, they knew it was a sticker bush, too.
Do you have any Christmas tree memories?