Christmas has always been a special time of year for me. I was born four days before the holiday, so all of my birthday celebrations had a strong tinge of Christmas.
At our home, we had a fake tree for many years, but grandma never did. She would find a huge tree, easily four or five feet across at the bottom and the tree topper brushed the eight foot ceiling. When you entered her house, you caught the strong smell of pine along with the smell of candy making. It was a heady aroma.
This was not just any Christmas tree. Grandma had been collecting lights and ornaments for decades, and they were all unique. Many of the ornaments were handmade, but they weren’t cute or “crafty,” they were well done.
The lights, however, made the tree. I could watch them for hours…and probably did. These were extremely old, though I have managed to find some plastic replicas. Inside the tubes was a colored liquid. As the lights warmed up, they began to boil, creating the bubbles after which I named them.
At the base of the tree was a village, complete with working railroad. If we were especially good, grandma and grandpa would let us turn it on and watch it wind its way around the village shops and homes. Those had lights in them as well.
On Christmas morning, we’d all head for grandma’s house. When all of the young cousins were there we were pointed to a pile of presents, already sorted out. We have a large family, and the pile was usually quite high. The smell of the tree on Christmas morning was mixed with the feast the women of the family had prepared. I will never forget Christmas at grandma’s with that special tree.