Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Christmas-y Chit Chat

Here I am fresh from reading Marie's "A Yeae From Oak Cottage' entry in which she's telling of decorting the Christmas Tree when she was a child (gosh, what a memory - OUCH).

I'm around about the same age as Marie - well a couple of years older maybe.  She is Canadian by birth And I am English but when it comes to Christmas trees our memories are similar.  In my early childhood we always had a  real tree.  I don't remember anyone having pretend ones.  A real tree was THE smell of Christmas!  A real tree and a  coal fire.  I don't think us three kids ever knew where the tree came from.  It just sort of.....turned up.....and there it would be standing in the corner on a chair to make it seem a bit taller.  

We had no such thing as a proper stand for it.  Dad would usually plant it in a big bucket - the coal scuttle often - and the first job was to camouflage that with red crepe paper.  Then the first thing the tree would always do was l-e-a-n one way or another.  That was why, in our house, the tree was always left until next day:  to see which way it was going to go so dad could shore it up.  And there would be us three all clamouring to get started!   "The baubles are still in the false roof," mum would protest.  They never were, the fibber, they were in her wardrobe.  By the way, "the false roof" wsas what we would call the loft these days.  I don't know why it was called that but anyway, it was the  void between ceiling and apex, used to store things we would be lost without.  Not much difference there then!

After school next day we would start.  In later years, when I was 10 or 11 we had 'fairy lights' and, as in Marie's experience, they never, never worked, though they had been fine when put away the previous year.  And they were all tangled up, though they hadn't been, and dad would drape them out around all the furniture
to get them straight and find out which lights were not working.  It only took one to put the whole lot out but you had to check them all before dad was despatched to buy however many new bulbs.  They were only tiny things but I remember mum scratting about in her purse to find enough money for them. 

Then there would - at long last - be the ceremonial draping of the lights.  It wasn't ceremonial really but it always seemed to us that dad spent an unconscionable amount of time doing ir!  Then the precious boxes were opened and mum  - ON HER OWN - would hang these glass baubles.  They were donkeys' years old some of them, and ever so pretty and delicate and us ham fisted little terrors were banished.  Well, one of us would be detailed to cut off short lengths from a reel of cotton so mum could tie them through the wire loops to hang them up.  No kidding, us lot were chomping at the bit by this time!  For goodness sake if they didn't get a move on between them it would be bedtime and we wouldn't get to do our bit,

We always did though!  Two of us would have litlle packets of stuff called Lametta (I think you can still get it) which was long thin strips of shiny silvery paper which we draped over the tree branches to represent icicles.  The third one would have a packet of cotton wool.  With this you had to pull off little bits and throw them at the tree.  These were meant to be snowflake

Then the littlest (our Gwyn) was hoisted up to put the fairy on the top.  Finally, off would go the room lights and the tree lights switched on.  Nothing "designer" about our tree.  Every colour known to man and, apart from the vey classy baubles, any Christmassy decoration considered nice enough.

How we loved that riot of colour.  Christmas was here!


Andy said...

Gosh that brings back memories!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Very good memories of the Tree you've shared today...I read Marie's post too and thought we shared alot of memories. I do remember in the 50's (I'm older than you are) My Dad got an aluminum tree. All silver and shiny and there was a rotating light that we'd shine on it and the colors would change...we had that a few years and went back to a real one. It was not until many years after I was married that we started with the artificial one. I still have some bits and pieces of that first tree as my boys shaped some of the branches into wreaths and tied a red bow on them to hang at the windows of our home.

Marie said...

Aww Angie, I loved reading your Christmas Tree memories!! Oh how I was right there along with you! Don't you just love these wonderful minds we have that can instantly transport us to earlier times!! What a joy to be able to relive those days eh! shh . . . it's not raining this morning. Not YET anyways! Unfortunately our weather station shows more rain coming. blah...xxoo

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie...just dropping in this early rainy morning to say hello..and to enjoy your "memories"..and yes we only had a live tree...usually one cut down somewhere close to where we lived in the country...and a bucket of sand or dirt did the trick for a stand...and our tree always leaned LOL...but it was the prettiest tree in the world...with our bits and pieces of pretty paper and cutouts we all made...never had lights until we were older..but no still was pretty...take care now..God Bless...hugs...Ora are you doing with the "motorized chair" ??? packing on the miles I just bet!!!! LOLOL

Grammy Staffy said...

I loved reading about your Christmas tree decorating of the past. My memories are similar until my 8th year. When my mom and dad divorsed things changed. My mom could only afford a tiny little tree but I still thought it was beautiful. I loved it and the sweet pine smell that filled our little apt.

John and I always had real trees until our David was about 3. He was allergic to almost everything. The Dr. told us to get rid of the live tree. From then on we have had fake trees. They are not as nice but I have gotten use to them. Our new one came with all the lights already on. It is much easier than a real one and I put it up the day after Thanksgiving and it stays up until New Years Day.

I didn't comment on your last post but as the #1 fan of Thanksgivig I will tell you how we do it. Since most of my family crowd come from out of state they can't really bring food with them. My daughter that lives near always brings the mashed potatoes, the appetizers and pecan pies. I buy all the rest of the ingredients and my girls help me cook. If we invite any local friends they usually bring a salad or another dessert.
I start getting ready early. I do the shopping and set my tables several days before the big day.
I get the pies, rolls, and everything I can made the day before.
Thanksgiving is just about my favorite holiday. I just love smelling the delightful aromas coming from the ovens while I work with my sweet girls in the kitchen. If I ever move out of the USA I will certainly miss this wonderful day of feasting and giving thanks for our blessings...even if it is a lot of work. There you have it.
Have a great weekend. Love, Lura

Teacher's Pet said...

This post brings back so many memories to me, Angie....the real tree with the scent that can never be bought in a can and matter how hard one tries...uhmmm. And the tree in the bucket! Yes!!! We did that too!
We put the icicles on the tree last...and it was so much fun! We'd hang them one by one by sister and I got the plesure of doing that. Thank you for these memories....wonderful ones.
Smiles to you from Jackie

Robynn's Ravings said...

Oh I could picture every word!! Loved your post. :) Makes me want to decorate the tree now. Got it last night. Ours is not designer either but it is FILLED with memories and that's ALL the design I need!

Robynn's Ravings said...

The daughter is standing at my right shoulder and we are admiring your cakes and sugar flowers. Wanting to know if you have a post with instructions? She has created a fondant she likes but wants to learn more. :)

Sage said...

Hi Angie,
Love those memories; isn't fun that we can remember the good old day where life was simpler. There is something wrong here;I NEVER get notification that you posted on your blog; I'm trying to figure our how to fix it.

Blessings each day said...

Well, I'm finally here and enjoying every minute of your post as always.

All of the sudden I just realized that I don't have any oof the ornaments that my parents used on our tree and it makes me a little sad because it would have been nice to have them for memories sake. I never thought to ask my mother for any when she was a live and I don't know where they all went when she was in the process of moving to Florida many years ago or even after my father died and she move.

We used to always put tinsel on our live trees and I have tried it on the artificial but it's a mess to get them off.

blessings and warm hugs,


Anonymous said...