Big or small, Christmas tree a sign of the season

To put up the big tree, or opt for a smaller one? That was the question I pondered a few weeks back. To tell the truth, my tree has gotten smaller over the years, and I no longer put up a real one. Plus my artificial tree is already pre-lit, so no need to fuss; however, it seems like a big job to bring the thing upstairs, plus all the boxes of decorations, only to take it down again in a couple weeks.

I mentioned my quandary, and a granddaughter overheard me. So she will come and drag the stuff upstairs. My question has been answered, for this year at least.

I never thought I would live long enough to ask that question. I always loved the Christmas trees I have had over the years. As a child, it was something my parents put up, and I helped decorate. The lights were bigger then, and more of the decorations were homemade. Cut-out cookies, nut shells and candy canes, to name a few.

Oh, how I loved that tree and that time of year. Everything seemed so magical. There were oranges to eat — what a treat that was. With my mother being a baker and great cook, sweets were not really a treat, but I don’t recall that she made candy. So the chocolate-covered angel food candy we had during that time of year was always extra special, as was the hard candy in many flavors.

As I got out on my own, I slowly formed my own traditions for Christmas. I remember stopping to visit my parents, and they talked about not putting up a tree. I was shocked. “How is this possible?” I thought. Now that I am about that age, I find myself thinking much the same, which is even more shocking.

In the later years, my parents got one of those new-fangled aluminum trees. When I looked through some of the albums, it was great to see mom standing by that tree, which proudly stood on a table in front of the window.

I recently found a picture that my Aunt Gertie had taken of my youngest brother and me by a decorated evergreen tree. He has a football, and I have something that looks like a baton; I’d say I was 10 or 11 at the time. That tree was tall and skinny and laden with sparkly icicles.

In looking at albums of my own children growing up, I see some years we had huge evergreen trees, and some sad-looking ones also. When my kids were old enough, we usually would go trudging through the woods looking for that perfect tree. We seldom found a perfect one, but always one that was good enough.

If the decorations were hung just right, a person didn’t notice the places where branches were missing. One year, the snow was so deep that I bought one from a tree lot. That one was sheared perfectly, and there was no place to hang the ornaments.

How big or small a Christmas tree is not really important, I guess. The important thing is to remember what Christmas is all about — family, friends and church.

Isaiah 9:6 says: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”