Saturday morning, I awoke early to an unusually quiet house. Friday, my girls had attended a Christmas cookie decorating party at my neighbor’s house and did not go to bed until late. My husband had worked late, and was also sleeping in.
Our Christmas tree offered the only light in our house. It was a beautiful site, so calm and peaceful, and brought back one of my fondest childhood Christmas memories.
Growing up, my mother would always host Thanksgiving. She came from a large immigrant Catholic family of three girls and five boys. Our dining room would be dressed to the nines for the holiday with lace tablecloth, china and real silverware. Having 30 people over for the day, was not unusual, and my parents were gracious hosts.
After Thanksgiving was over, my father would clear the dining room of all of its contents in preparation for the Christmas tree. The second weekend of Advent, the four of us, my father, mother, sister, and I , would head out with saw in hand to the local Christmas tree farm. My father was meticulous about selecting the perfect specimen. Then he would tie it onto our Falcon station wagon and we would return home.
The base of the tree would sit in a bucket of water outside for a week until the third Sunday of Advent. The day before, my father would haul the tree into the empty dining room. It was enormous and usually had to be cut again in order to fit in the room. He would painstakingly install its big multi-colored lights. Many times those old lights had shorts in them, and my mother would wisely usher us outside for fear we may hear some language not appropriate for children.
Finally on Gaudete Sunday, we would decorate the tree. My father was squarely in charge of this project. He was an artist, and always took the lead of decorating of the entire house, not just the Christmas tree. Once completed, our Christmas tree was a site to see as it stood alone in our dining room. I remember spending hours playing around it and gazing into its lights.
What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?