Light Notes

Pining for Christmas tree traditions

It’s National Christmas Tree Week and I’m pining for the good old days — those memories associated with a real live Christmas tree.

I didn’t realize just how much tradition meant to me until I called my youngest daughter.

“Mom, I can’t talk,” Tiffany announced as soon as her cell phone rang. “The kids have basketball practice in 10 minutes.”

I understood, remembering the busy days of motherhood.

“And besides that,” she continued “we’ve got to get the Christmas tree up.”

I paused to let her comment soak in. Who could get a tree into their living room in 10 minutes?

“Yes!” Tiffany assured me as I questioned her time schedule, “Just three pieces to lock together and it’s done — lights included.”

I hung up in shock. What about all the childhood memories associated with a real Christmas tree?

Why, I remember the year our little family gleefully headed into the snowy mountains to cut our first Northwest tree, our voices rising to the tune of Jingle Bells. About half way up the icy highway leading to the peak, our pickup truck slid backwards to a chorus of shrieks as we skated toward the edge.

Or what about the time our eyes were bigger than the tree stand? Daddy spent most of the day whittling in the garage. The kids were banned from the "R-rated" drama.

It’s wasn’t just us with Christmas traditions. Friends tell of their merriment when the garage door height didn’t include a Christmas tree on top of their car. This evergreen ritual continued three years in a row to the delight of handy men out of work.

Climbing cats tipping decorated trees, carpet hiding needles — ouch! — 'til spring, Christmas kindling masquerading as an unlit tree — all customs that a fake tree can never bring.

It’s a sad story. My daughter will never experience again those good old days.

I guess the tradeoff is peace on Earth.