My Homely, Homey, Home-Made Sort of Christmas Tree . . .


First thing this morning, streaks of pink and orange crossing the sky, a touch of frost on the grass. It’s cold and I am bleary-eyed from too little sleep.

Time to go and fetch a Christmas tree, a real one for the first time in years, and the first real tree that wasn’t purchased for charitable support of some sort. Nothing shipped in from a Christmas tree farm. Just a home-grown number.

I pull on a lightweight sweater and my jeans and put on my Elf Shoes Version 2.0.–red hi-top Nikes with one glittery green lace and one green-and-white-striped lace. I grab my newly washed red fleece cape with the hood–yes, call me Not-so-Little Red Riding Hood. I’m still cold so I grab my sequined Santa hat and pop it on my head. My husband walks by as I adjust it in front of the bathroom mirror and gives me a look.

“You don’t have to get glammed up for this, you know.”

“I know. Got to wear something. Figured I might as well look festive. ‘Tis the season and all that.”

My Glitzy Santa Cap, perfect for a bit of Christmas tree hunting, yes?

My Glitzy Santa Cap, perfect for a bit of Christmas tree hunting, yes?

Even with the cape, I am chilled. I grab a sweater. Of course, it is a Christmas cardigan, with festive appliques and embroidery. You can’t see it under the cape, but I know it’s there.  I tug on my black knit gloves with the soft chenille cuffs and I am ready to go.

We drive up and down the dirt road in our Jeep, windows rolled down to check out what’s available, heater blasting to take the edge of the morning chill.  We’re looking for a cedar.

“Too tall.”

“Right size–oh, really lop-sided.”

Benny points and grins. “How about that one?”

It’s a sprout. A little better than a Charlie Brown tree, but not much.

Pig Pen and Charlie with his homely little tree.

Pig Pen and Charlie with his homely little tree.

“I think we can do better than that.”

“This one’s nice.” We get out to inspect it. It’s full–very full. Not sure it will fit into the alloted space in the living room. And I honestly don’t want something as big as our artificial tree. FMS body is demanding I scale back.

Back into the Jeep, our eyes peeled for other candidates. Finally, we decide on one. It’s not perfect, but it will work, its size much more manageable for me. Benny cuts it down with an old hand saw. I hold the saw for him as he lifts the tree to place it on the rack atop the Jeep.

“This was Daddy’s, wasn’t it?” He nods in the affirmative as we tie it down with a bungee cord.

I remember hunting for Christmas trees back in my childhood and smile as I look at the saw with its slightly rusted handle.”Daddy never cut down the tree we chose. He knew better . . .  and there was always a huge bald spot. Never failed.”

Fast forward about 12 hours. Benny helps me sort through the lights and find working strands. I’d always gone for white lights in the early days of our marriage. But Benny recalled the colored lights of our childhoods so warmly and wistfully.  I’d bought colored lights a few years ago–and one strand of genuine Noma Bubble Lights just for him to enjoy.  Very retro.


We have–lots of ornaments. I love Christmas and collecting Christmas items of all sorts. We’ve had a 7 1/2 foot artificial tree in the past, very full, with lots of branches.

Everything won’t fit on this smaller, wispier tree. And with its slightly assymetrical look, its homeliness and fewer, more delicate branches, it seems to me myfaceted beaded garlands, opalescent glass spheres, delicate angels and other breakable ornaments should stay put in their boxes. They are made for a showier tree.

This year it will be starched white crochet snowflakes, comical clothespin reindeer, cross-stitched ornaments made by yours truly, Olde Worlde cloth-covered styrofoam balls, handkerchief angels . . . a homey, homely, handmade sort of Christmas.

Well, except for one thing. We cannot find our angel tree topper. We try out one of our old-fashioned Santa figures but it’s just too heavy.

What to do?


Just had to glam it up a little, you know. ‘Tis the season, y’all. And now my tired old body begs for a hot shower with some lavender vanilla body wash to help me relax. Hoping for sweet dReAms.


Now I wouldn’t leave you without some Armitage beauty, either.  ‘Tis always the season for THAT.


21 responses »

  1. What a lovely account. Sadly we have to have a fake tree – i soldiered on with a real tree for a couple of years when i came to Australia but it really is too hot. The speed at which it starts to decay is accelerated and within a couple of days all my sensitive nose can pick up is eau de dead tree. Our fake tree is now about 12 years old and still bushy – i have made Mr Bolly promise we will replace it as soon as it starts looking sparse as his parents seem oblivious to the fact their tinsel number is now completely bald after 30+ years of use. My tradition is to pick up the small branches my gum tree constantly sheds, put them in a vase and hang all my glass and silver decorations on. That is my favourite bit of Christmas trimming.

    Wishing you and all the lovely people who visit your blog wonderful holiday season if i don’t speak to you again before.

    • Hey, girl, wishing you and yours a wondeful holiday season, too! 😀 I can only imagine trying to have a real Christmas tree in a hot Alabama summer. My father could not understand when my mother and I wanted to replace their first artificial tree. We kept the new purchase on the down low and for years afterwards, he would talk about how that fake tree sure had lasted a long time . . . never realizing we’d substituted a brand-new one for the model that was just too shabby to use anymore. 😉

  2. Lovely! I love your festive little tree; it’s charming. I love that you got dressed festively to go out with Benny and choose the tree, and then to cut it with your father’s saw. Thank you for sharing this. I miss having a real tree; my daughter’s preference is an artificial tree with white lights, and when I’ve been with her, that’s fine. I had hoped to have a real tree, but they are quite rare and expensive here, so not this year. Next year, Lucky will be older and less tempted to see a tree as a climbing tower with toys. Right now, Lucky’s enjoying his little gift, a small ball with a bell inside.

    • Thanks, Leigh. It does have its own special charm. I almost wish I had popped some popcorn and make a garland and used construction paper to make a colorful paper chain. 😀 I am glad Lucky is having fun with his new toy and you are right, he will have a lovely time when he’s a little older and can gaze in the tree with awe, too, instead of trying to conquer it. 😉

      Every time I look at the cross-stitched ornaments, I flash back to the summer of 1994, and my recovery from major knee surgery in June. I sat on our couch in the den and worked on those ornaments while watching TV. I remember stitching away and shaking my head in disbelief as OJ Simpson and that low-speed Bronco chase unfolded before my eyes . . .

  3. Very lovely Angie. 🙂

    This year, I will have a small fake tree. I usually buy a real one, but th 24 an 25, I spend the evening at my parents’ house for Christmas and my birthday and after, I will spend a few days in Dijon (France) to visit a friend (and we will see “The Hobbit” together 🙂 ), so I will not be a long time at my home to enjoy a real tree. 😉

  4. I miss real trees. We always went out to cut them down or at least hunt for the perfect one on the Jaycee’s lot! But as a single woman, an artificial tree is easier and more practical! Buddy cat is in love with the tree! I may not be able to take it down. He bats off ornaments and sits beside it gazing adoringly at the blinking lights! I was a little leery about putting it up, but I’m glad I did.

    • Benny said Thumper was just staring up at the tree with awe this morning LOL Once upon a time, I was walking into the dining room and heard a strange rustling coming from the living room. I looked in the direction of the Christmas tree which was–moving. Suddenly about midways up out popped a furry face. It was Puddie! I was torn between scolding her and laughing aloud at how funny she looked! Thankfully, she didn’t knock the tree over and no real harm was done. Wish I had had a camera at hand for that Kodak Moment. 😉

      • I imagine she does. My Siamese who passed in 2009 used to love real trees. He never tried to climb; probably figured out that at 5 kg of solid muscle, he was not suited. Still, he loved to lie under the tree, look up, and sniff the branches. We used to watch the video of The Nutcracker ballet together, too. He enjoyed the music and the moving colours.

  5. Ah, I just love the holiday season (runs and hides cause I know many, many people DON’T) and a really nice tale of how an imperfect tree made its way to your home. You are an excellent writer,,,,but me thinks you have been told that before,

    BTW, you look absolutely gorgeous with that hat on. I usually look ridiculous with anything on my big head..And is that a glint of naughtiness I see in your eye? Was sir Guy in the room too? 🙂

    • I always loved it, too, although it’s been a struggle for me the last few years with losses in the family and illness and unemployment, etc. I feel like this is the first year in a long while I have gotten my holiday sparkle back in place. 😉 I went and looked at my imperfect treee earlier and just stood and smiled. It’s far from the biggest, most elegant, impressive tree we’ve ever had, but it has its own special charm. Thanks for the kind words about my writing. I do quite enjoy it.

      You know, I do love a good hat. 😉 I actually have a collection of Santa hats, regular plush, a leopard print one, a University of Alabama one, etc. I’ve been wearing them for years around the holidays. 😀 Benny has one with a baseball cap bill that says “ho, ho, ho!” As for the naughtiness, well—I am a saucy wench. And Sir Guy does hang out here quite often, so . . . 😉

  6. Traditionally, families only put up/decorate their Christmas trees on the early afternoon of the 24th December here in Hungary. Since my mum passed away I haven’t had my own Christmas tree- there’s no point as I spend the holiday at my sister’s. I have an advent wreath and that’s it. At my sister’s we always have 2 trees, a small one upstairs and a large one downstairs! When I was young we always used to put seven real candles on the tree. I love candles. I prefer candles to artificial lights but nobody puts real candles on their Christmas trees anymore. FIre hazard and all that, I suppose..

    • I have never seen a tree with real candles on it. I bet it was lovely!! I have seen lights that are made to look like candles, but that’s as close as we get. Definitely considered a huge fire hazard. PPl used to keep big buckets of sand/water near tree just in case it was needed.

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