Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

December 14, 2012

In praise of Christmas trees from the past

GOSHEN — Christmas trees have “evolved” through the years from the simple pine that was cut from a nearby woods a century or more ago to our present nursery-grown stock that has been nurtured, shaped, sprayed for insects and, yes, even colored in some cases. One might now say “this ain’t your grandfather’s tree.”

Christmas trees have run their course from natural to fake to natural and back to fake to potted live trees and back to natural.

MY PARENTS’ FIRST TREES were natural because that’s all there were, but through the years as a teenager it changed to the metal tree, silver with that revolving multi-colored disc with a light bulb that would make the tree sparkle like a diamond in a kaleidoscope.

Also gone forever is the aluminum tinsel that had to be separated nearly one strand at a time — I’m guessing the electrical hazard put a stop to these. It was impressive once decorated but along with the hazard they were quite heavy. It was always fun to give each strand a toss to give it a more natural look. Each year they would be removed and then saved for another year. Aluminum tinsel evolved into the silver-colored plastic variety that is still popular today.

GONE TOO IS THE  “larger than life” old-fashioned three-inch bulbs that were replaced by the smaller two-inch variety and currently the very tiny (and much cheaper) clear and translucent bulbs.

Continuing with the relics of the past, how can we forget the popcorn strung on string each year that we used to circle the tree —sometimes even dyeing it red and green with food coloring. Then there were buckeyes, strung on strong twine because of their weight, that were used also to circle the tree. In years past nearly all of the decorations were homemade because of frugality during hard times.

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