For centuries, at Christmas time, one of the main objects in homes has been the Christmas tree. As I look through family photos I see that our family is no exception to this tradition. Christmas trees are bright and pretty and photos often focused on them. Here are some pictures of family trees in various styles and sizes.
According to Wikipedia the custom of the Christmas tree originated in Germany. Christmas trees were originally decorated with foods such as apples, nuts or dates and were lighted with candles.
This past summer I found the photo shown below in a box stowed away in the Miller barn. The items hanging from the tree were dish cloths that look like they were made into slippers, probably made by my aunts. Each pair was labeled for their recipient: Kate, Mom, Florence, Martha and Em.
When I was a young child we had a live Christmas tree. It was exciting to get the box of beautiful old-fashioned glass ornaments down from the attic and decorate the tree. I don’t know what happened to all those old ornaments. They probably broke over the years but I would love to have a few of them for keepsakes. We also used lots of tinsel and the large colored Christmas lights to adorn the tree. The tinsel was messy but the cats loved it.
A few years later artificial trees became popular and we got one to replace the annual live tree. The first artificial tree we had was green and resembled a real tree. The next artificial tree we purchased was a shiny silver aluminum tree. Those were quite popular in the late 50s and I loved watching the multi-colored light wheel rotate and change the color of the tree. Each of those aluminum trees came with the light wheel because we were cautioned not to string electrical lights on the metal tree.
The photo below was taken at a Farm Bureau Council meeting at my parents’ home. Some of you may recognize Donna and Vernon Caffee, Fred Miller and Bob Humbert holding his daughter Rita Kay. Note the aluminum tree in the corner.
We now use a mid-size artificial tree in the basement. Upstairs I have become very lazy with my trees. I group four skinny, folk-art-style trees of various sizes together and I decorate each differently. Here is the lazy part: I leave the lights on the trees, take them to the basement and cover each with a bag for storage. Each of these trees is one piece so there is nothing to take apart. The next Christmas all I have to do is take the trees upstairs, plug them in and hang a few decorations on them. How simple! And I have my own little pine forest.
Last year we visited the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservatory on Black Friday. It was decorated beautifully for Christmas and it was peaceful walking through the plants and flowers. There was no shopping and fighting the crowds for us. They had a poinsettia tree there.
We have a beautiful 12 foot tree at Zion, Chatt, decorated by a group of ladies at the church.
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blatter!
[O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!]