Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tree Tears

Germany is credited with creating the Christmas tree tradition as we know it now in the 16th Century. Martin Luther, Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree.

The first record of Christmas tree in the Americas is from the 1830s in Pennsylvania by German settlers. In the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and the Christmas tree was becoming more popular around the United States. In Europe trees were small only about four feet tall, while in the United States Christmas trees were often floor to ceiling tall.

For me growing up picking out the Christmas tree and decorating the tree was a family event. Going out with Daddy to find the perfect tree to bring home. It had to be just the right size for the living room and just the perfect shape. He always let me have a say in which tree bring home, even if it had a bare spot here or there he would let my sister and me help pick out the tree.

Once home my mom would have boxes of ornaments out for us to decorate the tree. Daddy would put the lights on the tree and then we would load it up with our favorite ornaments. Some years there would be areas of the tree with tons of ornaments and other areas with hardly any when my sister and I would be tired of putting ornaments on the tree.

The point was it was a family event.

After graduating high school and moving on to college my Daddy bought me  a small artificial Christmas tree with lights and ornaments to have a school and Thanksgiving until I went home at Winter break. I put that tree up every year for four years thinking of Daddy when I would pull it out and looking forward to going home for the holidays.

1988 was the last time I put up a Christmas tree because the following year my Daddy was murdered. The joy in a Christmas tree was no longer there for me the next year. My mom wanted a tree for her home so we made sure she had one but for the first time every it was an artificial tree in my parents home not a live tree.

This past year I purchased my first home. When the Christmas trees went up at church I started thinking "They look and smell so nice maybe it is time to have one in my home again". After all it has been 23 years since my Daddy was killed and I had my last tree in my own place. Now that I'm a home owner I decided it was time to have a tree.

I asked a friend that has a truck if he would go to a local hardware store that sells real trees with me to look at trees and help me pick one out. I cried when getting the tree, in fact I'm crying now as I type this thinking of my Daddy and going to get a tree with him. Tonight I will close with simply a picture of my Daddy as a young man and my first tree in my new home before I started decorating. Stay tuned for the decorating of the tree in future posts.

First Christmas Tree


  1. Nice pic of your Dad. Very handsome in his uniform.

    Lovely tree, looking forward to the finished product.

  2. Writing these essays may be be difficult enough to make you cry, but it's wonderfully healing to get them on the page. Good for you for getting a tree. We got our first tree ever this year too.