Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar: December 1

(This is post 1 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by

Prompt: December 1 - The Christmas Tree
Did you have a real tree or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree? What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

We were a "real" tree family of the pine variety. Being from southern California, you just don't go in the woods and get your tree. We went to a tree farm. I think it was in the Lake Matthews area, but I was a kid at Christmas, so those details weren't important. The name of the place was Pine Hill Farms (I think. This remembering stuff is HARD!). I doubt the place is there anymore. It's probably 500 tract homes at this point.

Once upon a time, that place had sloping hills of trees. They also had crafts, food and a hay ride around the farm. We'd spend half a day there, then take our tree home.

Our trees were always around 8ft, and usually crooked. Once my dad washed and set the tree in its stand, my sister and I would get to flock it with aerosol cans of Al Gore's worst nightmare. But then it was fun. My dad would cut the trunk at the base in order to straighten it, leaving a disc of fresh wood. I loved the pine smell of that wood.

When the tree made it into the house, it would be placed in the living room where we'd all decorate it. There the tree would wait empty until the morning of the 25th when there would be presents under it.

The tree usually stayed around until New Year's or whenever my mom declared it a fire hazard.

As for my ancestors, I have no idea what tree traditions they had. That's the price of coming from a small family.

(This post originally published December 1, 2009)


  1. I really enjoyed the post! You guys washed the tree?!? I know my mom and step-dad always had a real tree, but I don't think they washed or sprayed it! :). I'll have to ask. Thanks for posting!

  2. Yep, my dad always sprayed it with a hose outside. We lived in a dusty, dry climate where it never rained so part of that was to wash the dirt out. Also, my dad said the water helped the fake snow flocking stuff stick better.

  3. "Al Gore's worst nightmare" almost made me spit water on my computer screen!! The things we did back then ;-)

  4. Oh, yes - the Christmas tree farms in southern California! That was how we would get our tree. And I remember that white goop, too. Then wasn't there some other sort of white gunk that you could use t make stencil decorations on the windows?

  5. Christmas Tree Farm is still there but not as big and under a new name. Charlie rides his bike by it. Also your dad would flock the tree with the vacuum also. Then they stopped selling the stuff. Probably was a fire or breathing hazard. When I was little for a while we had aluminum tree and we would put a light that circled around with red, green, blue Wish I had that light now.