Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Your Questions

Sometimes the hardest part about blogging everyday is thinking up things to blog about. So yesterday i opened up the floor to questions. Oh my goodness I love all the questions and  I'm gonna tackle this one first!  

Denny144December 2, 2013 at 6:31 PMDo you cut a fresh tree from your property? My in- laws, who live in Missouri, would go to a friend's farm and cut the rattiest looking cedar tree and that's what my husband grew up with. My family always bought a fir/spruce. One of our biggest newlywed fights was over what kind of tree to have and I won mainly because the lots where we lived didn't have cedars.

Oh my gracious Denny you bring back such memories for me that I could just cry. Maybe I will go cut me a ratty cedar Christmas tree. 

You see this is the house I grew up in not long after my parents bought it sometime around the early 50's. Daddy had gotten out of the merchant marines after the war and he and mama had traveled the country in a travel trailer. Daddy was working the pipelines and such as an iron worker and they were saving money for a home. Initially they bought this old cypress Acadian style home and 30 acres. They sold the travel trailer and settled down and started accumulating kids. 

And a mule!

Daddy worked during the day, mama stayed home and gardened and canned. Milked the cows, took care of the stock and the house and daddy worked nights and weekends on the farm. We lived off that garden and what the land provided. Fruit from the trees, fish from the swamp and game from the woods. Cedar trees grew plentiful and who was going to throw away good money buying a dead tree? Like everything else it had to come from the farm.  So my father bundles up his children and we all helped to pick out that ratty cedar. And to a child the cedar was 20 feet tall and plated in gold and my Dad was the greatest man of all time. 

To this day I can close my eyes and see the interior of that old cypress tongue and groove ceiling. The smell of fat pine lighter over by the fireplace and smell the twang of cedar from the Christmas tree. It may have been lopsided but to us it was the most beautiful tree God ever made. It always set in the window there right by Mom's treasured shiny white World Book encyclopedias because her kids weren't gonna grow up to be no dummies! Seems like everything we owned back in those days came from the Sears and Roebuck catalog if it didn't come off that land. 

Time went by and Mom and Dad bought more land, and finally built a shiny new red brick ranch home complete with turquoise tile bathrooms and asbestos floor tile. And that ratty old cedar Christmas tree was still beautiful

It was an exciting time of colored television and talking dolls. Mama dressed me up to match them and my hair was permanently kinked now with those new fangled home perms every year just for Christmas.  New dolls called Barbie and Ken, and Chatty Kathy dolls that talked.  Electric trains that you dropped little white pills in and they puffed smoke. I still have many of my Christmas presents from then. Sapphire birthstone rings and music boxes, and probably my most treasured posession is my white leather King James Version with my name engraved on the front in gold. A present from my parents that has lasted a lifetime.

Then Mama decided we needed to get modern and the old ratty cedar was no more. It was the 60's after all and we had to have a shiny new silver tinsel tree complete with color wheel. And while to a child still beautiful it just never had the appeal of that old ratty cedar dripping with mismatched glass balls and peppermint canes.  

Years ago when I lived in the city as a young woman we bought a tree every year, like you, usually a fir or spruce. Then my oldest daughter developed horrible allergies to them and I had to go to an artificial tree because of that. So I invested in a huge and expensive artificial tree. The oldest daughter has since married and left home. Now that she has little ones of her own I have given her the big tree for her family and now have a small artificial tree. I have started passing some of the family ornaments that belonged to the children on to them for their own trees. 

And that little farm girl in all these pictures grew up and moved to the city.

And like that tinsel tree with the color wheel I sparkled for awhile.

And then I realized that like that old ratty cedar I belonged back on the farm. That deep down the season is in the message and not the trappings. 

 And perhaps it is the most simple that shines the brightest and the purest of heart that receives it. 

Ya know what though. 

Maybe I will see if I can find me a ratty cedar for old times sake and load it down with crocheted ornaments, popcorn strings, candy canes and mismatched balls. 

Your turn! 

I want to know about your childhood Christmas memories too!

What kind of tree did you have and how was it decorated? 

PS Keep those questions coming!

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. I absolutely LOVED reading this post and looking at your pictures. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Oh, much to my dad's grief every year my mom made a day out of getting the tree. All four of us kids, plus my folks were loaded up in my dad's fancy new mustang...(I believe that is when my mom started this 'tradition" as she was so mad at him for getting that mustang). Anyway, she would have my dad drive us to the furthest tree farm, where we would look 'for hours' for that perfect tree. We kids always had fun, but as an adult I look back and chuckle at the sweet revenge my mom got on my dad. In 1968, we lived in Newport Rhode Island, as my dad was stationed there. Well, we got snowed in for close to two weeks. All was OK until my dad mentioned he was glad his mustang was safe in the garage (we lived in what was left of an old farmhouse, the property had been divided up and fancy houses built around it). My mom then just 'happened' to mention that she really could not remember if she parked it in the garage or in the driveway....which was covered in 5 feet of snow, thanks to the bushes that lined the driveway. Well, my dad and two brothers started making a path to the driveway(at least 100 feet), cleared the driveway near the garage. Although the mustang was in the garage, my dad was so mad he finished the rest of the driveway....all 200 feet by himself! My mom always said it was amazing what one angry Irishman could get done with one shovel. LOL We kids love to mention the mustang at Christmas time, it always gets a rise out of my mom, and we kids get a great laugh. My folks marriage lasted 20 years, amazing...LOL
    Thanks for sharing those photos, brings back alot of our Christmas'
    blessings, jill

  3. Thanks for sharing...We always had a real tree, we lived in southeastern Alaska, and it was usually raining, sometimes a little snow. We would go cut a tree, sometimes it was a great one and sometimes a little ratty. It had tinsel and glass balls, bubble lights and shiny birds with sparkly tails. I still have those birds and many of the balls on my tree. Wish I had saved the bubble lights. My grand daughter calls all my ornaments "Vintage" I guess that matches me, as I am a little vintage, better than old. Keep up the wonderful blogs. I loved the foggy morning pictures. I lived in St. Joe for about a year, coldest winter I ever spent. but such a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing your recipes, have used many of them, and the family loves them.

  4. I love your memories...thank you for sharing....brings to mind we have a lot of cedars here thinkin i might need to have one in this ol house of ours this year....

  5. What wonderful photos and memories! I got some of those same toys -- Chatty Cathy and Barbies. I even have a white leather Bible with my name in little gold embossing in the lower corner. The toys are long gone but I still have the Bible. It's too fragile to use regularly so it's more of a treasured keepsake than anything. I remember pouring through the Sears and Penney catalogs for Xmas ideas. It's just not the same, looking at things online, I miss those catalogs.

  6. I loved evetything about this post! The pictures were delightful! Thank you for sharing!

  7. When I was 6 Daddy built a new house that summer. That Christmas he sold trees from the property to help pay the bank payments on the new house. Yes, most of them were cedar, but we thought they were the most trees we'd ever seen. He sold trees for $5.00 each. Like most people at that time in this area Mom and Dad raised most of what we ate. Dad always had a huge vegetable garden and raised hogs and beef. Mom canned the vegetables and meat for the winter. We always ate good, Mom was a wonderful cook. We lived simple and had everything we needed.

  8. I loved your post! Thanks you so much for writing it and the pictures were just wonderful. What memories that brought back to me!! I too grew up with a ratty old cedar tree (and thought it was just the most beautiful tree in the world). We now have an artificial tree. When our four girls were little, we cut a cedar tree from our farm but like your daughter, my allergies made it nearly impossible to have a live tree. I had many of the same toys you mentioned. Your memories made mine come alive again too. Thanks again for sharing. BTW, I still have my white leather King James Version Bible with my name on it and you're right.....it's the gift that lasts a lifetime.
    Lorinda in Indiana

  9. I live in southern middle TN so winters are not as harsh as yours, however, we did have some cold winters and some pretty good snows when i was young. So, it's about 1975 or 76. My dad liked to get a balled tree. Don't know if they were bought or dug up. I do remember going out and cutting down an ol cedar every now and then. Anyway, this particular year we had a balled tree and normally daddy could go out after Christmas and dig a hole and plant the tree but it was reeeeaaallly cold that year and for an extended period of time. So, the tree stayed in the living room until spring. Of course moma had taken off the ornaments. Well anyway it's around March and my cousin(who's a year younger than me) and aunt stopped by. My cousin was very curious about the tree still in the living room. So she asks, 'Why do you still have a tree in your house'. My mom fell right in line and said, 'It's our Easter tree. Don't you have an Easter tree?' Insert much eye rolling from my aunt here :) I think she had a hard time that year convincing my cousin that they weren't getting an Easter tree. I've seen in the last few years people decorating trees outside at Easter time with Easter eggs and such and all I can think is that ...you are so old news...we did that back in the 70's and it was inside to boot :)

  10. I always thought we had the most beautiful tree. I only have one picture of a tree when I was about twelve-years-old. it looks horrible. There are barely any limbs on it. It helped me understand how as children we marvel and love what is given to us and made special by a parent. Things don't have to be perfect for a child's eyes to see perfection. I guess I will have to find that picture, actually a negative, and put it on my blog when I have the negative processed.

  11. I loved reading this post! The pictures of you with the doll brings back memories as I had a doll that same size and when I received it as a Christmas gift, it was the same size as me. I too am allergic to real trees so I grew up with the artificial kind. Every year we would put on all of the same "old" ornaments along with any that we made in school. To this day I can still remember what our tree looked like when I was little. I also remember when my parents decided that the old tree just was too broken to put up that year and I looked at the new one and burst into tears. My mom was concerned and I blubbered that I miss "my" tree. My mom did give me all of the ornaments that I ever made along with my few little favorite ones and they now sit proudly on my tree every year along with my children's ornaments that they made.

  12. Love this post and the beautiful pictures that helped to tell the story. Many thanks for sharing :)

  13. What a wonderful story. Thank you for telling..... such a good tale and yet it brought a few tears to my eyes.... not sad tears at all.

  14. Such a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing! I can remember as a child dad would drag the Christmas decorations out of the attic. Of course, our attic was very small and my dad is a large man! So there was always a head knock and maybe even a small curse word coming from the rafters. It was always dads job to put the tree together and fluff the branches, mom would string the lights and garland and the kids got to put the ornaments on. It was always the most beautiful tree you had ever seen!

  15. What a great story!!! I love this post! It brought back a lot of my own childhood memories... thank you!

  16. I got all sniffly reading your post.. lol..
    Growing up, my parents bought nice Christmas trees and my grandparents had the shiny aluminum trees of the 60s.. After my parents divorced in the mid 70s, Mom rarely put up a tree. She would if I went out & chopped one down, but she didnt enjoy celebrating or decorating for the holidays.
    After I married, I was the one who still had to go out & get a tree if I wanted one.. One year I was so sick that I couldnt do it, so I went to our fence line & chopped off a branch from a hickory tree and we had us a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.. It was kinda cool.. I liked it and so did most everyone who saw it. Eventually, I found out I am allergic to cedar which was great since I lived in the middle of cedar country so I bought a fake tree. After I moved to Ohio 15 years ago, we used one big fake tree and now we use a small 4 ft table top tree on our end table. Its large enough but not too large..and none of us are allergic to it. ;)

  17. One of my favorite posts!!! I recall our tree being stuck in a coffee can with gravels to hold it up,,, then the outside of the can was fancied up with a covering of aluminum foil. Love the pictures, even my 20something daughter said your dad was a good-looking son of a gun! Beth in Ky.

  18. Loved this post. I have lived in northwest Missouri my whole life. We always had a ratty cedar tree for Christmas. My grandparents lived with us. So dad and grandpa would go hunting (pretty much an every Sunday thing when I was growing up LOL). While they were gone, grandma and mom would get to work cleaning and rearranging the living room. I loved this time of the year. Everything was pulled out from the wall, cleaned, then crowded together so we had room for the tree. When dad and grandpa came home, they would be dragging a cedar tree. We would stick it in a bucket with rocks and water. They tied the tree to the wall so us kids wouldn't pull it down on ourselves. We had those great big lights for it. Not the little bitty ones of today. Our star was handmade out of cardboard covered with foil. Ahhh, those were the days. I was the oldest and only girl of 4. I loved wrapping, so my job was to wrap everything. Grandma even had me wrap my own gift. She would put it in a shoebox, tell me to wrap it and not peek. Can you believe, I never ever peeked. I always listened to what grandma said. ;) We had an outhouse for a bathroom back then. It never failed. On Christmas Eve, at about 7 p.m. dad always had to visit the outhouse. When he came back, he always had gifts from Santa. LOL He said he met him on the path. As a child, I believed every word. LOL What I wouldn't give to have just one more Christmas with dad and grandma and grandpa. Those were good times. Keep the stories coming. I love reading them.

  19. Most of the time we would pack in the car and go to the nearest Christmas tree lot to pick out our tree. One year we cut our own tree. Now that I am grown I realize that my parents were hurting for money that year and couldn't afford a tree but as a child, I thought it was just another adventure. My grandparents owned a few acres out in the country--it is now part of the Disney World complex in Orlando--so we went out there and cut a tree. I assume it was a cedar because I can't imagine it being anything else. We brought it home and placed it in the Florida room, which had white linoleum floor. We decorated that glorious tree with lots of ornaments, tinsel and angel hair--you don't see that stuff anymore. My dad loved that angel hair. I also remember always having colorful bubble lights. We had a lovely evening as a family. We went to bed with smiles on our faces.

    The next morning when we went to marvel at our tree and boy, were we surprised at what we found. There must have been a million little black ticks crawling across that white linoleum. The children gasped, with hands up to our faces. One of us went to my parents room to get them. When my mom saw all those little creepy crawlies in her house, she put on a brave face and cleaned them up. I have no idea if the ticks continued to drop or not. But next year we were back at the Christmas lot in town.

  20. What a beautiful story and illustrated with wonderful pictures. Loved reading it. You should write a book (in your spare time LOL) Vonda

  21. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories! This was an early Christmas gift to each of us. My favorite memories/tradition of Christmas is singing carols around the tree right after we finish decorating it. The only light is from the tree and there is never a particular order for the songs...just whatever we want to sing next. It's my favorite hour or two of the whole season!

  22. I really enjoyed this post-thanks for sharing


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