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Memories of past Christmas trees

Senior moments

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POSTED: December 16, 2013 10:00 p.m.

I love the Christmas season. For me it is a time of wonderful anticipation and cherished memories.
It’s hard nowadays to not get lost in the commercialism and hype of this holy time of year. Even Black Friday started on Thursday this year. Walmart was once again touted as the big retail winner among giants such as Amazon (no pun intended) and Best Buy. So what was the most popular deal this year? A dish towel – 2.8 million of them to be exact, were sold at Walmart for 29 cents each. And apparently people fought over them at many store locations. This gives a whole new meaning to “throwing in the towel.”
Even Christmas trees are getting more radical these days. Did you know you can put just about anything on a Christmas tree? Last week I heard someone talking about putting a chair on their Christmas tree. Why would you put a chair on your Christmas tree?
Christmas trees were traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts and dates. I’m old, but not that old so I don’t remember seeing anything like that on our Christmas trees. However, we did have home-strung popcorn on our trees when I was growing up. A word of caution, when Christmas is over you can still eat the popcorn but remember to spit out the string.
The first illuminated trees were by candlelight. Imagine that. History indicates a Harvard University professor by the name of Charles Follen may have been the first American to illuminate a tree with candles. I didn’t go to Harvard but even I can tell you that’s a bad idea.
Franklin Pierce may have been the first U.S. President to have a Christmas tree in the White House. Historical notes (some of which are refuted) indicate it was somewhere between 1853 and 1856. Additional reports indicate he had lighted candles on the tree. Hmmm. I don’t think he went to Harvard. He did not get re-elected either.
And still today there are those that prefer to light their Christmas tree with candles. One positive point I read said there are no unsightly wires when using candles on your tree. Gee, maybe they should get the lights with the green wires — they hide pretty well. I can’t recommend the use of candles on your Christmas tree, but if you do — don’t tell your insurance carrier.
We have so many amusing Christmas tree stories of our own. One particularly funny memory involves our dog Hewey tinkling on the Christmas tree as I was preparing to place it in the stand. The tree was on its side in the driveway and I believe Hewey wanted to christen it before we took it inside. Not to be outdone, Ralph, the neighbor’s dog, pranced over to our carport and made sure the job was done right. After several thorough washings we did manage to get the tree inside and decorate it.
My favorite decorations for our Christmas trees have always been the handmade ornaments our daughters would bring home from school when they were little. We don’t have any chairs that will fit on our Christmas tree. Besides, there’s something about a clothespin reindeer and a light-bulb Santa Clause that’s hard to beat.

DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. Contact him at 912-531-7867 or e-mail him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.

 

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