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The Christmas Tree that nearly got us...
Submitted by Jerry Jackson on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:33pm.
When it comes to Christmas tree decorating, people seem to be divided into two camps: artificial and "real". Arguments abound in favor of each type of tree, so I guess there is no true "right" or "wrong" answer. For me, travelling to the local Christmas tree lot became an annual tradition at an early age. The journey sometimes evolved into a bit of an adventure as an adult.
On the family farm back home, our tree of choice was always the Fraser Fir. With it's pleasant scent and durable limbs, the tree was well-suited for ornaments. Our ceilings were fairly low, so a 6-foot tree was the ideal size. Mom was always in charge of picking out a tree for the living room. I was in charge of picking out a tree for our small garden sunroom. Dad was along for the heavy lifting.
Many of you may remember the technique of "flocking" a tree. You could usually find a local florist who was willing to spray your Christmas tree with a special snow-like coating that would last for weeks. It gave the tree the appearance of sugar candy, and helped to preserve the moisture in the branches. Our sunroom tree was usually flocked, and we often decorated it with multi-colored lights. The warm glow of colors shimmering on the the frosty branches was really a sight to behold.
Many years later, in a misguided endeavor to re-capture some of the joys of Christmas decorating, my wife and I visited a Christmas tree lot in Wilmington. We had just moved into our house, and we were anxious to create that perfect "holiday magic". Our home was small, but we had a fairly high ceiling in the living room. Naturally, we wanted a big tree. Unfortunately, we were not wise enough to realize that trees appear much smaller when standing in an open-air tree lot. We found the biggest tree we could afford, and happily drove home. Decorating was going to be fun. Good grief, we were wrong.
The first sign of trouble came when we realized the tree was too big to fit in the tree stand. Having just moved into the house, most of my tools were still in storage back on the family farm. My wife stood guard over the tree while I drove to a local store in search of a saw. When I returned home, I cut. And cut. And cut some more. After about a half hour of "trimming", the tree was small enough to fit in the stand, but much too large to be stable.
Over the course of 2 additional hours, we "wired" our behemoth of a tree to the window sill- breaking every known law of safety in the process. At one point during this madness, I lost my balance and dropped the tree. The end result was a large scratch down the side of our living room wall (which was temporarily covered with a combination of whiteout & Christmas decorations). After our work was finally complete, the tree was standing... barely. When our relatives visited for Christmas, their reaction to our tree was an odd mixture of disbelief and hilarity. It was the first (and last) "big" Christmas tree in the Jackson household.
A few days ago, my 2-year old son walked into our living room and gazed at our newly placed garland. He was amazed by the bright lights and red bows, but commented that everything was "too high". Even at his young age, he has far more common sense than his dad.
If you would like to share memories of your holiday traditions, or if you would like to read interesting stories about weather (including an outpost at the bottom of the world), please join our new facebook page. Here's the link: Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson
By: Jerry Jackson