Your First!

Do you remember your first? Tall, short, slim or full? Noble, Scotch or fir?  Was it in your first apartment as a single professional, or perhaps as a newlywed?  Over the years I’ve heard countless stories from those sharing their memories of their first Christmas tree.

The sixties offered little variety for artificial trees. There was a sparkling aluminum or a live tree, but the artificial, green trees were rare. If you were among those “in vogue” the “color wheel” was a required accessory for an aluminum tree.  Select monochromatic solid, baubles, sparsely hung on the branches, plug in the color wheel and “oh la la” you might have been chosen to be in Architectural Digest.

One of the most elegant trends may have been the full, flocked trees; designed to add a winter element for even desert dwellers. If you couldn’t afford to have the tree professionally flocked, the options of “flocking in a can” were readily available for any budget.

For my then husband, Charles and me our sixties tree, was a relatively short, but very full scotch pine; my first tree purchased from rows of aromatic firs and pines. Unlike my own children, Charles and I brought no ornaments from trees of our youth.

Our barren tree necessitated a trip to the local discount store. The horizon of baubles and lights was more limiting in the 1960’s. Nonetheless, it was exciting to peruse the aisles of Christmas decorations to “make a statement” for our first tree.

The tree would be bedecked in red; ornaments and lights. The red paper and plaid bows for the gifts beneath completed the “just right” look. Those original lights and decorations remained until God blessed is with the best Christmas gifts possible; our children. As they received ornaments, the solid red, glistening balls soon found safety tucked away in a box. The “baby’s first Christmas, rocking horses, toy soldiers and fairy princesses took their regal position on our tree.

My children’s and grandchildren’s trees are filled with memorable ornaments from parents and grandparents. Scattered among those cherished “Hallmark” ornaments or those reminiscent of family travels, are the special “one of a kind” handmade treasures.

I oohed over many of my children’s handmade ornaments as they carefully removed them from their boxes. I ponder often over these cherished gifts.  Do donors whom so affectionately created these realize that decades later these gems still hold an esteemed position among the other more costly adornments?

As I shared previously, this is the first year in the past 52 years that my house is barren of Christmas decorations except the tree; displaying dozens of ornaments from places visited and memories lived. Each is special, but one which brings an abundance of tears is an ornament bestowed to Charles and me in commemoration of our 25th wedding anniversary.

It was a gift from a beautiful young lady whom God called to be one of his angels when she was only 19. The ornament holds our “engagement picture”. For the past eight years as I’ve removed that ornament, I’ve wondered if I should display it for the memories open the “floodgate” of tears. Yes, I do for the memories of that time were a huge chapter of my life. As I behold each ornament, I think of I Cor. 13:13 NIV”…But the greatest of these is love.” Jesus is truly the “reason for this season.”



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