My husband and I are fans of live Christmas trees. Actually, I’d be tempted to have an artificial tree, but I love the evergreen scent of a real tree. So I put up with the messy needles every year.
For the past several years, we’ve purchased Fraser firs, an evergreen native to the Appalachian region. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was not familiar with Fraser firs. In fact, when I was a child, we usually had pine trees or Douglas firs, which are actually members of the pine tree family, despite their name.
I remember a park ranger teaching a group of kids one time to identify trees using the saying “prickly pine and friendly fir.” The Douglas firs I knew had prickly needles (thus confirming they are really pines). By contrast, the Fraser firs we’ve bought have been very easy to move and decorate, though they drink more water than a marathon runner.
Because I worked for Hallmark, I have purchased Hallmark Keepsakes ornaments for the past thirty-five (or more) years. I started work for Hallmark in 1979, and I know I bought my first ones in or before 1982, because I have an ornament for “Baby’s First Christmas” dated in 1982—the year my son was born.
Over the years, I tried to buy ornaments that related to things my kids were doing. So during their grade school years, I bought Crayola ornaments. When we had dogs, I bought puppy ornaments. In 1994, when my son was twelve and started mowing our lawn, I bought Santa with a mower. (I don’t think my son appreciated that one.) I’ve bought Boy Scout ornaments, a baseball Santa, a football Santa, a moose on snow skis, and a reindeer on a jet ski.
Not all my ornaments are Hallmark Keepsakes. I have a set of embroidered ornaments I started when my husband and I rode the bus to our offices. That was not a successful experiment (I couldn’t work on them without motion sickness), but I later finished them and still have the set of six ornaments.
I’ve kept all these ornaments for over thirty-five years now. My kids have only recently become stable enough in their living arrangements to trust with keepsakes. (At least, I consider the ornaments to be keepsakes, as the Hallmark trademark says they are.)
My son is still an apartment dweller, but he bought a Christmas tree for the first time this year. We’ve discussed my sending him “his” ornaments after this holiday season, so he’ll have them for his tree next year. So this might be the last year some of these ornaments will grace our tree.
My daughter owns her home, but professes not to like my taste in ornaments. She has yet to buy a tree of her own at Christmas, and she has a dog who attacks Christmas tree lights. I think I’ll keep her ornaments for a few more years.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and may your holiday lights shine bright!