Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday memories get to me this time of year

Gay, June and Glenda in 2011 
Holidays bring up the nostalgia of long ago celebrations with family, many long gone now. 
I grew up in southwest Georgia in a simpler time when we found our Christmas tree in the woods on the farm where we lived. Max, the only one of my four brothers now living, took on the responsibility of taking his little sisters to find the right tree. Looking back, I am sure he spent many hours inspecting the pines and cedars during the fall months so he could take us right to the one that would serve us best.

From pictures taken back when Gay and I were little children, it is evident that we did not have many trees shaped like the typical ones we see today. We might have a cedar tree one year and a pine tree the next. (They would be called Charlie Brown trees today) 

I remember the cedar trees were flimsy with soft branches that would not hold up ornaments of any weight. The pine trees smelled good but were sticky with resin that got on our hands and clothes. The long needles drooped sadly. They, too, were difficult to decorate. 

We did not have lovely ornaments bought in stores when we were really small. We made our colored chains or used garland saved from years past. We hung faded blue and red balls bought when my brothers were kids. However, we always had silver icicles dressing up the humble tree. 

After 1946, we had electric lights on our tree each year. That was what I loved best, the twinkle lights and bubble lights. Max made us a star from cardboard, paint and glitter. I couldn’t have been happier with a Christmas tree when I was under the age of six, than I was with the ones we brought home from the woods. Nobody I knew bought a Christmas tree back then unless you purchased an artificial tree, and no one in our family would dare do such a thing. 

As long as my mother lived, we always had a Christmas tree at her house and until she was unable because of declining health, to handle the big gathering, all of our family came there on Christmas Day, exchanged presents and ate a delicious meal. This time of year the memory of those days wells up in me like water from a spring. I can close my eyes and feel the joy of family, smell the scents of Mother's fruit cake cooking, the dressing we always had for Christmas dinner, the fresh smell of the tree, and hear the voices of my mother, sisters and other dear family members, talking, laughing, sharing their love for each other. 

Today’s Christmas trees wear the most beautiful ornaments and wrappings. I can hardly believe the time and money it takes to decorate even one. 

A few years ago, I visited a cousin, Steve, and his wife, Maria, in Dawson, Georgia. They have renovated one of the old houses still standing in that town and it is beautiful all the time, but at Christmas it looks like Santa's elves have sneaked in and turned the place into a wonderland.

Below see some pictures of their house at Christmas. 

The Christmas tree in the living room of my cousin's house had not one bare branch on it, I'm sure. 

This tree was in a bedroom with ornaments that matched the decor of the room. Every room of this huge house had been meticulously decorated for Christmas. My eyes could not take it all in.

One of the many fireplaces in the vintage house where Steve and Maria live in Dawson, GA. 

The tree below was in the home of Gay and Stu Moring, my sister and brother-in-law. This was before the presents were added. When I see this perfectly shaped tree I smile. So different from the trees we had as children.
We learned how to make a perfectly shaped tree when we grew up and owned a Christmas tree farm. Gay still prunes away anything on the tree they purchase that doesn't look like a Christmas tree. 

I don't dare put up any kind of Christmas tree this year. 
Lexie, my puppy/monkey gets up on tables, into flower pots, trash cans, closets and I can imagine what she would do to a Christmas tree. But she does have a stocking hanging on the mantel that she has not yet discovered,  therefore it is safe -- for now. 


Abbie Taylor said...

Holiday memories get to me, too. I enjoyed reading yours. May you have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Glenda C. Beall said...

From Pat D.

Ah, yes – bubble lights! One of the few things I still put out. (I’ve got a note on my To Do list to go out into the garage later today or tomorrow and take out the two or three simple things I put out for the holidays.) I’ve always loved bubble lights and I have a string of the old type. Won’t be able to replace any lights when these burn out – I’ve used the extras I had. I’ve looked on EBay and the correct replacement bulbs are so expensive I’d never, ever pay that much. When I was on JI, Christmas was really just another work day – but I had mentioned at some point to Doris (yes, the ‘genealogy’ Doris) that I had always loved bubble lights, and that there would be no Christmas tree in my room that year. She sent me a bubble light night light. I thought that was so sweet of her, and I thoroughly enjoyed it – then and for several years afterward.

(JI is Johnson Island where Pat worked for a while.Look it up. It has a story.)

Glenda C. Beall said...

Thanks, Abbie, for stopping by and leaving your comment. I enjoyed reading your blog about your reading and the fun your community had there. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2016.

Abbie Taylor said...

Thank you, Glenda, and the same to you.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

I enjoyed your post.Have a fun Christmas with Lexie!

Glenda Beall said...

Hi Joan Ellen Gage,
Thanks for stopping in and for the good wishes. I hope you and Maggie and Rob will also have a merry Christmas together. Thanks for all you do for me and for our writers, Joan.