Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How it went


Now, I don't know if you've noticed, but traffic is down here on the ol' blog. Most days, I still get about the same number of readers, but then if I skip a day or two, the numbers drop way down, and the comments are not flowing so freely either. So, when I received not only a comment, but also an INQUIRY, I was greatly inspired. Here goes.

CrystalD asked:
"Let me ask you something. Growing up decorating the tree was ALL ABOUT the kids! My parents loved to watch us decorate it in our little imperfect ways. and that tradition has been passed on to my family. We decorate as a family. BUT... i was recently talking to some ladies who might possibly we reading this cause they only stalk your blog and don't comment ;0) They were saying how there mom always decorated the tree. and it was never even a thought that the kids would dare touch it.She said she remembers just standing in awe at this beautiful tree her mother created! soooo just curious... is this a JESSICA tree? Or a family tree?"

Good question, CrystalD! I was raised in a house where we all participated (we being Daddy and the kids, whichever kids were small enough or non-social enough or back in the house post-divorce or job loss). Daddy had a lassez-faire method for decorating trees. He'd start with purchasing the largest tree available on the market. Most of our houses had 10 ft ceilings, so 8 feet tall would be the very minimum, and if he could find one that poked the roof or bent over a little, even better.

Then, he would get massive strands of multicolored lights, the kind that had 7 different blinking patterns, and he'd lay those on thick. Then, some garland. Like, red and silver garland all the way up. Then, ornaments. We had all kinds of ornaments, mostly clay ones we made ourselves- I remember a big Santa head, and a Mickey Mouse, and a blue kinda oval with Peace On Earth painted on it... and then a couple classy ones Mama snuck in while nobody was looking.

Every 5 years or so, Mama would try to stage a mutiny and have a classy tree, but it never worked out. So, yeah, the clay ornaments and then various balls and Santas and angels, etc. Then, to finish off the Vegas tree, we'd dig deep into the silver tinsel and cover all surfaces. He wanted us to use a light hand with the tinsel, and by that I mean no clumps, just general all over domination and tinsel coverage. And a star on top, even if we had to duct-tape it.

Then, he might grab a glass of eggnog and a chunk of Sharp cheddar cheese and just sit back and enjoy the show.

I loved Daddy's trees. I mean, we did all participate. And if one of us had wanted to stick a GI Joe or a fruitcake or something in the branches, he would have been cool with that. As long as we did it before the tinsel.

I tried to keep up the traditions for years in my house, and it was pretty easy while we were youth pastors. One year, we had a Ninja Turtle theme on the tree. We didn't actually authorize it, and I am not positive where they came from. But there you go. After Daddy died, I felt an obligation to keep the color and the excitement in Christmas. After a couple of years, the urgency of doing it his way started to fade, and I realized I kinda liked white lights, and some matching ornaments, and a couple years more to accept that I wasn't crazy about tinsel. (May he not be reading this from heaven) I didn't get crazy like, all white and silver ornaments and china and such... just kinda like, okay, jewel tones, or something like that.

That was a long explanation to get to this one point. I do have an idea in mind for what the final product should look like, and this is the first year that any little people have even tried to help. So I let them, with a little direction. For example.... "Now, we can't hang all the ornaments on that one branch... maybe we could put one over here? No? Okay."


  1. I remember those days, post divorce or job loss or pre divorce or just plain divorced from myself.

    Mike has an aversion to icicles, but we loved the way Daddy would throw them on from a distance sometimes.

    No one can say he didn't have flair-G

  2. hi, Jess....

    flying by and noticed you are wanting a bit of commentage on your blog....

    ... speaking of trees.... my 17th year, my Junior year in HS... there must've been something up with my parents with money... because Mom told us that we weren't going to have a Christmas tree that year.... that we didn't have room.... money....time.... etc.... I couldn't believe it! we had just moved into a small 3 bedroom 1 bath home, 5 of us with one missionary boy from Mexico living with us - total 6 - and he lived in the living room, which was also the den, the t.v. room, and the hall between the rest of the house and the garage/laundry/storageroom which was also my bedroom.

    We were driving home from town one day, when I noticed a huge tumbleweed caught in a barbed-wire fence on top of a hill across the free-way from our church building. I told Mom that it would make a good Christmas tree... so, she drove over to it and we all hopped outta the car, Missionary boy and all and attacked it, and put it in the trunk of our huge car and tied down the lid so it wouldn't fly out on the drive home.

    We got home, took it out, flocked it with fake snow - and then brought it in and perched it on the coffee table against the wall in the corner between the t.v. and the front hall closet. We decorated it with our homespun and hand made ornaments, lights and such... The only problem with it was that it kept trying to roll off of the coffee table. Mama finally solved that problem by tying some string to its back-side, then nailing it to the wall.

    That's my kind of family....

    and my kind of Christmas tree...

  3. I love these pics of the kiddos!!! R2 looks so happy, doesn't he? Great picture of all of them! Well done little mama!


  4. Our tree growing up was put up on Christmas Eve. We always had an artificial tree (real tree=fire hazard in our old house). Dad & us kids would brave the basement dankness and bring up the tree box, and the boxes of ornaments and decorations up into the living room.
    Then Daddy would put the tree together of course w/ much "help" from us. Then he would claim his recliner & a glass of egg nog as he doled out the ornament hooks.
    Mom would do the lights - colored, white, whatever we had and use ALL of them. Followed by the gold & silver garland.
    Then we girls would help put on EVERY ornament in the box. And each year Mom would buy new one for each of us, supplemented by the ones we made a girl scouts, sunday school, and at school.

    It wasn't until we became teens that our tree started going up earlier in Dec and becoming a bit more edited as we deemed some of our hand made ornaments a bit "childish".

    The family tree is now a designer one w/ porcelain santas, white lights, and Hummel figurines, but the pictures of the crazy trees of childhood live on both in memories and kodak paper.

  5. One day I'll have a BIG fancy house ;-) and have the family tree, then in MY room I'm going to have a beautiful themed tree. :0)

    prob not... I love holiday traditions. :0)

    I am a little disappointed because the traditional Christmas shows i waited for ever year with anticipation... my kids find sooo boring and hate! I mean common even when i was a kid the animation was bad but i still LOVED them! My kids could care less :0( I wonder if anyone will ever redo those Christmas favorites?

    Jess- I love hearing about your dad! I can picture it in my head!

    The youth messed with our tree as well. When isaac was getting mobile i put all the glas stuff up high on the tree. It didn't matter the youth just came over and broke them all. and i do mean ALL!!!
    :0) (i miss having teens in my house sometimes) then that moment passes and i return to sanity. ;0)

  6. We make it a family thing, and mostly for the children (Keith at this point). Last year and this one, we got live trees, I get it in the stand, Keith is SUPER excited. We open the boxes with ornaments and Keith starts getting them and putting them on (with precision that surprised both of us parents). Shannon strings the lights while Keith continues to hang ornaments all over. Shannon navigates the lights around his ornaments and may move a couple while he isn't looking. I'm coaching Keith a little, "let's put one over there" etc, and conversing with him about the different ornaments. Once lights are on, we all join in more ornaments, ribbon, and whatever else. This year we bought a new star that I lifted Keith up and let him put on, he was thrilled. After Keith is in bed, Shannon does some reorganizing of the ornaments and moves the more breakable ones higher, etc, and puts some candy canes up high (so we can decide when Keith gets them... no toddler candy cane sugar overdoses please, the boy is a walking ball of energy). All of this while the Christmas Music playlist is blasting merry tunes from the computer speakers. This year, Meara (just turned 1) mostly toddled around, watched, pointed, and looked cute.

    Soooo, nothing too crazy, but we do make it an enjoyable family time.

  7. And, very cute pictures.

    And, Mama PC's story is hilarious!

  8. Aw, this makes me all excited to get our tree up! Hopefully we'll do that this weekend. By the way, the pictures are ADORABLE.


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