Because finances were tight, Christmas time was rough for Mom’s family while she was growing up. But the kids never knew what they were missing because they’d never known anything else – and they were happy with that!
2 weeks before Christmas, Grandma would begin the search for the perfect tree. Tree vendors may have been frustrated with the quiet woman asking them to hold up tree after tree as she looked at each one from every different angle. As soon as it was in the house, they would cut a couple of inches off of the trunk at the bottom to help it stay fresh. It was Uncle Jack’s job to crawl under the tree to add water to the tree stand.
Strings of multi-colored lights would go on first. The bulbs were large and if one bulb burned out, the entire string went out. Each bulb would have to be tested to find the “dud” before the lights would shine again.
There were a few store-bought decorations, but most were made by hand. Mom was the youngest of five children and she remembers taking the thin metal caps from the milk bottles and cutting a slit to the center of the cap. She would thread a string through the center and then bend the cap into a bell shape.
The family would work together to make a festive string of pop-corn to add to the tree and thin, silver icicles would be added – one at a time – to add sparkle to the tree. Each strand needed to nice and straight to have the perfect effect. The finishing touch was a star on the top.
After the holidays, each piece of silver icicle would be meticulously wrapped around a piece of cardboard so it could be used again the next year. The string of pop-corn would go outside to feed the birds. And another year of memories would be packed away to be reflected on years later by this blogger and her mother!