Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas in the 50s

It's a few days before Christmas Eve and where is our tree?  Well, we're still waiting for the price to come down to under $10 a tree before dad will buy one.  He usually waited until it was Christmas Eve evening when the trees were free, but if we begged enough, he would get it a couple of days earlier (we, being my brother and sister).

I think if we cried and complained enough he would get a tree early.  But let me take you back to a Christmas Eve when we got the tree late in the day (when they were up for grab at the tree lot).    Dad would bring home a tree that was mostly losing its bristles and leave a trail from the back door to the dining room bay window where he would work for at least an hour getting the tree into the stand and then we had to wait for him to get the lights ready.  See, here's where I have a problem.  I would have had the lights ready for the LATE tree.  Well, after he got the lights ready and on the tree we would stop for our annual Christmas Eve dinner (sausage, mashed potatoes, sour kraut, peas and a fresh loaf of Italian bread).  No seven fish dinners for us.  Dad wanted his Sausage and Kraut dinner.

After dinner we could start on the tree.  The balls were glass (I broke two more this year, I'm down to about 15 of the old, old balls from when I was a kid).   We were not permitted to touch them back in the 50s.  We were permitted to hang our school projects.  You know, those macaroni encrusted, gold painted frames with your school picture in them. 

After the balls were on the tree and it was plugged in and the lights were lit, we children were happy.  Mom was in charge of the tinsel and we had to wait until Christmas morning to see the tree with the tinsel on it.  Each piece the tinsel on the tree was hung individually, no pieces were thrown on mom's tree.  

We were put to bed early, but sleep didn't come until around midnight for us children.  We were too excited. 

On Christmas morning we were so pleased to see a decorated tree.  Still shedding!

The tree came down and went out the door for trash collection on New Year's day.

Now to the present day.  I start the week of Thanksgiving   to get all three of my trees up and decorated.  This year I was behind, but finished my third tree last week.  I usually get them all finished the day after Thanksgiving.  I must be getting old.  It takes me a much longer time to get the trees trimmed, but I love the result!