I was probably 8 or 9 and my brother was 12/13 when this happened.
Being unwealthy (and well below lower middle class), we usually had to cut corners on various things throughout the year – making decisions on what was important and necessary versus only wanted. One year, we couldn’t afford to buy a tree. We always had a real tree because fake trees were… not very good in the 80s. I guess that’s the nice way of saying they looked like crap, yes? Not to mention, I’m guessing, they were more expensive then.
Anywhoozles – we were going to be treeless. In reality, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. One less thing to deal with and it really is just a pagan symbol that has nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas, right? With that said – my brother and I were not going to let this hold us back. With a saw in hand, we trampled up into the woods to look for our tree.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to run off to play for a few hours in the woods so Mom and Dad didn’t worry about us. We looked for an hour or so for that perfect tree and once we found it, we got to hacking. We fell the tree and the two of us hauled it down to the house – I remember it as being at least 2 or 3 miles… but I’m guessing my 8 year old legs were just tired and we are talking more like a half mile or so.
We got it home and presented it proudly to our parents – and to my dad it was funny. Not so much to my mom. Mom was upset that we basically stole the tree from property that didn’t belong to us (and, she was right)… and of course – what made it most funny was it was the wrong type of evergreen tree. We did not cut down a pine tree of any kind – we cut down a cedar tree. Instead of fluffy, spikey green needles and nice strong branches, the tree was covered in flat, lacy looking needles – and anyone who knows anything about the cedar family trees – the branches aren’t that sturdy either.
So, we put up our tree… and we hung the ornaments…. very close to the base of the tree because the weight bent them too far down and most ornaments just fell off. The only thing that could have made it better was a wayward squirrel.
And that was our Christmas tree that year. Our goofy, oddly decorated tree – but it was ours.