Deck the Halls/It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas #Monday Musical Memories

When I was growing up in Tucson, Arizona, my family made the yearly pilgrimage to the Christmas tree lot. Unlike other places, Arizona rarely had snow at Christmas or any other time of the year. Unlike other families, we didn’t trek into the forest to cut a tree. Dad didn’t even own an ax or chain saw back then.

At the lot, I wandered among the trees, touching their branches, breathing in the aroma of fresh pine, and occasionally singing what little words I knew of  “Oh Christmas Tree.” I wanted every tree. Because of my limited vision, my parents didn’t take my suggestions to heart. We finally found the perfect tree and hauled it home. Then, the real fun began.

While Christmas music played on the phonograph, I watched, fascinated, as Mother and Dad, with meticulous care, strung the lights on the tree. At first, tinsel was used. But when my baby brother, then the cats, pulled it off the tree and dragged it all over the house, my parents gave up on that idea.

Once the lights were strung, the decorations were hung. I loved the colored glass balls. Mother showed me how to hang each one on a branch and take care that it wasn’t placed on the same branch as another ornament. We also had angels, snowmen, Santa Claus figurines, and, of course, candy canes, which didn’t last long after my younger brother developed an appetite for them. I believe most of the decorations were handed down from my grandmother or great-grandmother.

After we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973 when I was twelve, we discovered that most tree lots were indoors. But it was still fun to purchase, take home, and decorate a Christmas tree. Nowadays, with just me in the house, I don’t bother with a tree or any decorations. Besides, there’s no room in my living room for a tree. Although I can appreciate Christmas trees and ornaments despite my visual impairment, if I’m the only one around to see them most of the time, to me, it’s not worth the time, money, and effort. Instead, I play recorded Christmas music when I’m working or doing other things.

Today, I’m singing two songs for the price of one. They’re both about decorating for the holidays. Click the link below to hear them and enjoy!

 

Deck the Halls/It’s beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

 

How about you? What do you remember about decorating for the holidays when you were growing up? Did you cut a tree in the forest or buy one from a lot? What kind of decorations did you have? Were they handed down through generations?

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Saturday Song: O Christmas Tree

Some people decorate their homes for the holidays before Thanksgiving, but when I was a kid, we usually waited until the first or second week of December. In Tucson, Arizona, during the 1960’s and early 70’s, we drove to a lot each year where we picked out a tree. Despite my limited vision, I could see the trees and loved the smell and feel of the branches.

We didn’t have a truck, and I can’t remember how we got the selected tree home, but we did. My younger brother and I watched while Dad and Mother put the tree in the stand and strung the lights. Then the fun began.

My favorite task was hanging colored balls and candy canes on lower branches. We didn’t use garlands or tinsel because the cats wreaked havoc with them, but we had antique angels and other Christmas symbols that my mother hung on higher branches.

After we moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973, we bought our trees from an indoor warehouse instead of an outdoor lot. Although my father could wield a chain saw with the best of them, I don’t know why we didn’t trek to the mountains and chop down a tree. I bet that would have been fun.

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What do you remember about decorating your home for the holidays? Did you ever go into the woods and chop down a tree? I’d love to hear about your memories and hope you find the perfect tree this year. Have a great Saturday.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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Christmas Tree

Abbie-1

Some people get their trees the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I don’t remember our family being quite that eager. Usually sometime during the first week of December, we piled into the car and drove to a Christmas tree lot, no trudging through the woods with a chain saw for us. Despite my limited vision, I loved seeing beautiful Christmas trees lined up in neat rows. While my younger brother Andy ran around and got into mischief, I wandered among pines, touching branches and inhaling the sweet aroma.

After Mother and Dad found the perfect tree, we somehow managed to get it home, despite the fact we didn’t have a pick-up truck most of the time. Once home, I watched and Andy played while Dad got out the tree stand, and he and Mother erected the tree. Then, they attached the lights, first testing them on the floor to be sure they worked before stringing them on the tree. Dad sometimes had to run to the store to buy bulbs to replace ones that were burned out.

Once the lights were on the tree, the fun began, at least for me. I loved touching and looking at our wide selection of ornaments from balls to snowmen to the baby Jesus, some handed down from my mother’s mother’s mother. Mother showed me how to attach the hook on each ornament to a particular branch. She didn’t care where ornaments were placed as long as two of them weren’t on one branch and fragile ones were on more secure branches. Andy sometimes helped, but most of the time, he did his own thing while Dad sat nearby with his nose in a book or newspaper.

When all the ornaments were in place, Mother flipped the switch, and I watched in awe, as the tree lit up. I gazed at our wonderful tree and wondered what gifts would be underneath it Christmas morning.

On New Year’s Day like clockwork, Mother was ready to take the tree down. Since Dad and Andy always had better things to do, I helped her disassemble everything. I loved our ornaments and didn’t mind taking them off the tree, putting them in their respective boxes, and helping Mother put the boxes away until the following year. Then she managed to haul the tree out to the alley to be picked up with the next trash collection.

When I grew up and moved into my own apartment, I didn’t bother with a tree or other decorations since I could still enjoy these in my family home. After my parents separated, and Mother moved to Story, about twenty miles north of my home town of Sheridan, Wyoming, I didn’t do much with decorating, but Dad and I spent Christmas Eve and Day with her. By this time, Andy was living in Colorado, and he and his family often spent the holiday with us.

After Bill and I were married, we didn’t bother with decorating. I’m not sure why. When I first met Bill, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and when Dad and I visited him at Christmas time before he proposed to me, his house was decorated, and he said, “Let’s kiss under the mistletoe.” I thought he was joking. You can read more about this in my new memoir.

Now that Bill and my parents are gone, I don’t bother decorating the house. Besides, I don’t have room for a tree. I have a few ornaments I’ve collected over the years that I put out if I think of it and can find them, but that doesn’t happen often.

What do you remember about tree trimming in your house during the holiday season when you were growing up? Have your decorating habits changed now that you’re an adult?

I leave you now with a song to get you thinking about that Christmas tree. Happy decorating.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.