It’s not Christmas until you put up the tree.
We loaded up this weekend and went out to get the tree for my humble little abode.
Cold blue skies and a stiff north breeze had no effect on our disposition other than to make cheeks rosy and prompt a pinched grin once the deed was done.
You see, I’m a real Christmas tree lover.
I’ll admit, those store-bought Douglas firs trucked in from way up north are shapely and pretty. Modern technology and Hong Kong labor have also put some very real-looking artificial trees on the market.
To each his own.
But my preference is for a fresh Cedrus Juniperus (that’s common cedar to Chickasaw County folks) personally chosen by the entire family, cut with my grandfather’s saw and my own two hands.
Yes, a fresh cut evergreen even makes the house smell like Christmas.
The yearning for a real Christmas tree may be inherited. The toys of my childhood were always found under a real tree.
I grew up in a house with 12-foot ceilings. That meant when we went looking for a Christmas tree we sought a 12-footer.
For kids reading these lines, the theory goes like this — the bigger the tree, the more presents it needs to keep it from looking so bare.
And some of those trees were real monsters.
I remember cutting one so tall it left brown sap marks on Momma’s white ceiling. She wasn’t too happy about that, but it’s hard to whip youngsters when they’re putting up the Christmas tree.
We also felled one so fat it pricked the arms of five adults as we tried to reach around it.
The house we live in has 10-foot ceiling and so we picked a bigger one than we normally have in years past. Dragging a tree inside the house was plenty of reason for my boys to get excited, too.
Decorating this tall timber is definitely a family event and has been since I was a boy.
It was no different this year.
We drank hot chocolate at the kitchen table and then headed into the living room to adorn the tree.
Once the tree was safely and securely up my job was mostly finished, so I just sat on the couch and watched. Sara dragged out at least four big boxes of decorations and smiled that mother-smile as she remembered bygone Christmas’ and younger children with each ornament.
I have an old red plastic bell that was given to me by my mother way before I was a teenager. I always make sure it is hung where I can see it and remember her at Christmas.
The boys fussed a little bit about who got to hang which ornament and the tree was heavily decorated on Daniel’s side, but neither of those were cause for concern.
Once the tree was up and outfitted, we turned off the lights and savored the beginning of another Christmas season.
Trees that please
Aside from a Nativity scene, I don’t think there is much else in the world that says Christmas better than a Christmas tree.
I hope to put up some Christmas greenery at the Chickasaw Journal this year, too. Several of the stores downtown have already gone to great lengths to spruce up the main drag with their Christmas decorations. The Journal and others in the area need to do their part to help set the tone for our community.
I hope you have already kicked off the Christmas season by putting up the Yule time greenery at your house.
Think back to the Christmas you remember the best. I dare say it doesn’t revolve around a toy, meal or special gift. At its core is time spent with those you love.
Those moments you remember are those burned heart to heart with family and friends.
It’s so easy to make a holiday memory — just go looking for a tree.
Floyd Ingram is Managing Editor/News for the Chickasaw Journal. He can be reached at 456-3771 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org