Monday, December 9, 2013

Our World Tuesday: 'tis the season

Charlie Brown tree
bought when gold one
couldn't be found in
the crowded cellar
last year.
It seems 'tis the season to be decorating in Our World. Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone. Hallowe'en has come and gone. American Thanksgiving has come and gone. My birthday has come and gone. Shoppers are rushing home with their presents, and people are posting photos of their Christmas trees online.
The other day I told my husband it was too early to put up a tree, and he wondered why.
"Because," I answered, as a wife should.
A day or so later, after he brought my little gold artificial tree up from the cellar (when he was finally putting his Hallowe'en decorations away and wanted to save a trip down the ladder), I told him, "I said it was too early because, when I was young, we didn't put our Christmas trees up a week after my birthday, we put them up a week before Christmas, because we had cut trees. Dad always went out to cut a tree when we were kids."
My little gold tree, found in
the cellar this year.
That's true. The environment was then referred to as "the mountain" or "the forest" when trees were plentiful, and were also free on Crown Land (aka government land). It was a long, long time ago.
We lived in what was then a small town in British Columbia, and everyone's dad went out to cut a tree. Then they cobbled up tree stands from whatever bits of lumber they had available, to keep the tree upright while it stood in a bucket of water (judiciously replenished by the moms) on a bathmat (to save the floor) in the living room. This tree stand contraption was then draped with tin foil, with only a few strategically placed pieces of tape to hold it there but still allow for watering cans.
Gifts were hidden until a day or two before Christmas, because my mother and sister almost always peeked, and our "big" gifts (i.e. skates, toboggans, or bicycles) were put, unwrapped, around the tree while we slept the night before Christmas.
Cut trees, dads knew, would dry out if put up and decorated too soon, and would become fire hazards. People who lived near forests knew about fire hazards. City people, not so much.
I miss the smell of cut trees, and of the live trees I had when I was an adult on the west coast, where trees could be planted outside after Christmas. I miss the smell of trees, but I don't miss the smell of forest fires.
Our little Alberta Spruce in the front yard.
I'm thinking of putting lights on it, if we can find
the outdoor lights, the nearest outdoor power source, and
the long outdoor extension cord I know we have somewhere.
So now my husband (did I mention he's Jewish?) knows why I thought this past weekend was too early for a tree.



Sherry Blue Sky said...

Kay, do you have that much snow already? I am amazed! It is colder here than usual, for the Island, usually so temperate. There is a hard frozen white crust on the ground but, so far, no real snowfall. I loved your memories of your small hometown, also my small hometown......and I, too, love the smell of a fresh tree. I am now reduced to a tiny fake Canadian Tire tree on the ledge in my bay window, but as I have a lot of lights around the window frame, too, it works! This year, as I carried it up from the storage room, I said "I know I'm old, when this is what Putting Up the Tree looks like!"

Anonymous said...

What a lovely snowy spruce! It would look nice with a few lights.

Jo said...

How well I remember cut trees for Christmas, Kay. We lived near a plantation of conifers and even though people didn't know (care?) about invasive trees and plants or what should or shouldn't be destroyed, we still had our tree every year. I also loved the smell of pine needles. I laughed at you not finding the gold tree and now looking for the lights and extension. I lay in bed this morning thinking I should call the chef over to my house and ask him to unearth the decorations from the stores and to check whether there are plug adapters and extensions. Last year they borrowed mine! I will put up decorations on Monday 16th and we take them down on Jan 6th (12th night, I think?) Anyway this is Africa and anything goes. Thanks for the wonderful memories of my happy childhood of Christmases and all the years in between. Please pat Lindy for me and a big hug to you. Blessings. Jo

Mama Zen said...

We always had a real tree when I was a child. I miss that.

Karen said...

I love snow, I love "real" trees, and I love Christmas! You can get solar powered lights for the tree in the yard...ummm. but they will only work if you get some sunshine ;)

Joyful said...

Hello Kay, your post reminded me too of real, "live" trees which were cut just a week before Christmas. The trudging through the snow to find just the right tree was part of the fun. How chocolate and home made popcorn for tinsel. Those were the days:-) I now have a small, artificial tree which I store every year until I decorate again. Often not until the 2nd week of December. Happy decorating.

Penelope Puddlisms said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you, Kay! Christmas lights on your snow-covered tree would look so pretty.

I well remember my dear mom dutifully putting water in the can that held the fresh tree. Your memories of Christmas past reminded me of how my tree preferences changed over the years. Now that the green artificial trees are so realistic, light and easy to tuck away, I rarely consider putting up a real one. However, I do miss the outdoor forest smell inside the house and sometimes bring in a sprig of greenery.

kaykuala said...

Abundance of snow is indication of a cold white Christmas. Let it be so! Nicely Kay!


Anonymous said...

Delightful read and lovely photos ~ Holidays are so rushed now ~ glad you are trying to slow the pace ~ thanks, carol, xxx

Gattina said...

Anyway I think the nicest Christmas are when you are a child. My father was even worse ! He bought a tree one day before Christmas Eve and decorated it on the 24th ! I was not allowed to see it before Christmas Eve, then the gifts were laying under the tree. This tradition was impossible to keep up when my son was little. We both worked and had to decorate the tree the weekend before Christmas. I always had real candles, but with a small child artificial lights were put on the tree. Ever since we had a kitten which climbed in the Christmas tree, we have an artificial one (with 4 cats it's more practical) and honestly for me too !
We will make our decoration this weekend, this is even too early for me. Most of the people here do so.

Kay said...

Wow! That's a LOT of snow. I do miss it, you know. It looks so pretty. We put up our tree right after Thanksgiving. It's a short holiday season this year. Ah well... Dick is Jewish. We're Buddhist. However, we think Christmas is sure a lot of fun.