Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar - Tree Phases

Our collective family memory of Christmas Trees is solely based on which phase of tree you are remembering at the time. I will demonstrate for you below, but we seemed to run through differing phases, all related to tree types. For years, my only memory of a Christmas Tree was based on those toilet brush trees from the 70s. The cousins on my Mom's side of the family all had real trees, but in order to keep with the trend on my Dad's side of the family in Cincinnati, we all had artificial trees.....the move to Kentucky ushered in a new phase - real trees.....and so the pattern went. Here are some examples of the decades of trees through our family's relatively short memory....we don't have any Christmas photos earlier than the 1940s.....sad.
This little gem is from the very early 1950s - Dad and two of his sisters. I cannot tell for certain, but this looks like a real tree to me....which would have been in Ohio....gasp! We have one earlier than this from 1945, but it is very faint, and the tree also looked like a real one, so this would be an early phase for the Daniels family - apparently, a real tree! That tinsel behind them reminds me of a childhood memory....for a few years during my own childhood, my Mother decided to throw that sprinkle tinsel on the tree, but that stopped after she got tired of cleaning it out of the litter box....eww.... I know, but we had a cat that loved to eat that stuff, and we figured that was not good for her!
This next tree was Grandma Daniels' next phase...the metallic or tinsel tree! This one is from the 1960s. We have several photos of this one, so it might have lasted close to a decade....but completely ushers in the remainder of Grandma's Christmases as only consisting of artificial trees.
Once the 1970s arrived, I could finally grace them with my presence, and this ushered in my Parents' phase of the toilet bowl brush tree as mentioned earlier. This sucker was around until my brother was born in the early 80s. Ah, and then the 1980s arrived, and this picture perfectly reflects the memories I have of this newer model - the soft plastic branch tree. So easy to put up - after we had to wait for Mother to meticulously clean the entire house of course - but as you can see, the weight of the ornaments was not kind to this one, and it progressively got more and more droopy as the years went by. I guess these years were my favorite. Both my brother and I were still kids, and in our little Cincinnati house, the Christmas atmosphere was perfectly achieved every year.

Our family moved to Kentucky around 1993 and from that year onward we had a real tree. Mainly because we moved to a farming community and with the influence of our neighbors who happened to be family, we fell in love with the scent and uniqueness of real trees. Our first year down here, we even had a cedar tree instead of a fir or pine. There is a memory I will always treasure: Grandpa Watts taking my brother, cousin and Mom into one of the back fields to cut down that cedar and haul it back on an old wooden sled. The cedars were quite painful to decorate, but what a wonderful smell and perfect for an old fashioned country Christmas! I know the ease of an artificial tree has tried to lure me away, but even my own trees have remained real over the years - just hooked on this tradition I guess.
And for one last memory that surrounds Christmas Trees: While in Cincinnati - and even now when we visit - it was customary to visit several amazing sites around town. One favorite tradition was the Krohn Conservatory and their Poinsettia Tree. Beautiful - and a tradition that carries on for the future generations.
Merry Christmas everyone - hope your tree is up!


DianaR said...

The tree is not up yet - but soon will be! Loved walking down memory lane through all your years of trees - great post!

Greta Koehl said...

Our cats loved tinsel, too. So now we just put more ornaments on. I love your "Tree Phases" theory.

Jenny Lanctot said...

I wanted to let you know that I am giving you the "Ancestor Approved" Award for your blog. Please go to and pick up your badge.

Cheri Daniels said...

Thanks Jenny! And for the others...hanging head in shame....the tree was just purchased yesterday, sitting in the stand all naked...hopefully will be decorated tonight! :-)


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