Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories -- The Christmas Tree

The Carter Christmas Tree, 2003
Our family has always had an artificial tree. Allergies . . .

Over the years our family's Christmas tree took on various shapes and sizes. My first tree was given to me by my grandfather, Mark Silverman. The two-foot tree made of silver tinsel boughs came with small, blue, glass balls to hang on them . . . sort of a Hannukah bush.

When our first child was born in 1984, I ordered a four-foot tall artificial spruce tree from the JC Penney Catalog along with wooden ornaments. In 2003, our daughter asked, "Why is our tree so small?" Dad answered, "Because when we got it you were so small! We didn't want you to get overwhelmed by it." So that year we replaced it with this six-foot tree. After the death of our youngest child in 1990, we went to the Yankee Candle factory store in Deerfield, MA and each selected an ornament that reminded us of her, which are displayed on this tree along with some of the original ornaments.

Now that my husband and I have moved the nest from Western Massachusetts to Western North Carolina, we put up a Thomas Kinkade Nativity Tree in the living room. My husband first pulls the box out of his den closet, sets it down on the living room floor, and then places the tree on a stereo speaker. "Oh, I'm exhausted from that chore," he jokes. But the HO train set his father gave him as a boy still goes around the base of the tree . . . or should I say, around the base of the stereo speaker.

First Presbyterian Church, Galveston
When I was a child, though, the tree I always loved the best was the Chrismon Tree in our church sanctuary. There was always a Saturday Christmas Craft Day when children and adults would meet in the recreation hall to make giant pine cone Christmas trees, wreaths and a variety of ornaments. The following Sunday was the Hanging of the Greens service, and the Advent Wreath with its three purple candles, one pink and a white Christ candle in the center was displayed at the altar. The Chrismon Tree stood on the right side of the sanctuary by the choir loft.

The members of Women's Society of Christian Service (WSCS) at Vestal United Methodist Church, Vestal, NY had made ornaments called Chrismons by decorating symbols cut from styrofoam with pearls, glitter and gold beads. Each shape represented an aspect of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. At church the tree and the greens were real . . . the evergreen being a symbol of eternal life.

1 comment:

  1. What lovely memories...Thank you for sharing this one with me. :-)