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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Trees



Have you picked out your Christmas tree yet?  Last week I read an article about three new species of evergreens being raised in this country as Christmas trees,. Two are originally from the mountains around the Black Sea, the third from the mountains of  South Korea. All three are considered superior in their ability to last many weeks without losing their needles.


The Nordmann fir, Abies  nordmanniana, has strong branches, a statuesque shape and retains its needles for as long as a month.  The needles have silvery undersides that can create a “two-tone flash” when brushed.  The Turkish fir, Abies bornmeulleriana, is similar to the Nordmann in shape, but smaller, and has deep green needles. 

The Korean fir,  Abies Koreanna, has silky needles with  silver-white  undersides that can also create  the “flash,” as well as producing a nice lime fragrance.  The picture in the article made this species look pretty much like most Christmas trees, but when I went on the Internet I saw huge cones on all the Korean firs that hadn’t even been mentioned in the article.


Unfortunately not many Christmas tree outlets in New England stock any of these fancy new trees yet.  They are all pictured on the Internet, however. and can be ordered on line.  I assumed they'd all be pretty expensive, but actually found that the Korean Fir costs only $7.95 and could be shipped for free.  Alas, it turned out to be only 2 feet tall, root and all,  not exactly a great tree for Christmas.    Hopefully by next year we’ll start finding all these new species available here in the East.

As you might suspect,  our family has never had a store-bought Christmas tree., chopping down a variety of evergreens from our own woodland over the years.  Nowadays I walk around the sheep pasture each December and usually  find a nice baby cedar to be my Christmas tree. 

I've always decorated my tree with nothing but tiny lights and hand-crocheted stars my friend Edna Ford made for me many years ago, but when I got them out two days ago I found they'd gotten badly discolored.  I can bleach them, but since I'm headed to NYC this Christmas to be with Bridget and John and the boys, I think I'll just skip  having a tree  this Christmas. 




The most attractive Christmas tree  I’ve ever seen was created by my friend Henny Mead. The Meads' tree was always a live tree that could be planted come spring.  It was decorated with tiny white lights,  small bouquets of baby’s breath, and a dozen white feathered doves that looked so real you almost thought they'd fly away any minute.   

When I began asking friends about their tree decorations, I  was amazed at the infinite variety of ornaments they used,  but there was no variety about who did the trimming.  Husbands were allowed to string the Christmas lights, but that was all.  Just about every wife had experienced seeing their husband throw handfuls of tinsel at the tree.

 Besides the standard glass bulbs, tinsel and lights,  carved figures, strings of cranberries and popcorn, seashells, and heirloom ornaments were mentioned, but the most unusual decoration was  a labor of love by my Hungarian friend’s wife who always tied dozens and dozens of his favorite Hungarian candies on the tree which George continually snitched until the tree no longer had any decoration at all.

I get very nostalgic when I remember my grandparents' huge Christmas tree. It was always decorated with  real candles in beautiful leaded candle holders.  My cousins and I all loved this tradition because  every year the tree caught fire, causing lots of screaming and excitement and rushing around for buckets of water. The fire was always doused long before any real damage was done. It would be fun to continue that tradition, but I don’t know which cousin inherited the candle holders.

 Besides the standard glass bulbs, tinsel and lights,  carved figures, strings of cranberries and popcorn, seashells, and heirloom ornaments were mentioned, but the most unusual decoration was  a labor of love by my Hungarian friend’s wife who always tied dozens and dozens of his favorite Hungarian candies on the tree which George continually snitched until the tree no longer had any decoration at all.

My real favorite has always been the decorations on my grandparent’s huge Christmas tree,  real candles in beautiful leaded candle holders.  My cousins and I all loved this tradition because almost every year the tree caught fire, causing lots of screaming and excitement and rushing around for buckets of water. The fire was always doused long before any real damage was done. It would be fun to continue that tradition, but I don’t know which cousin inherited the candle holders.


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah  or whatever you feel like celebrating.  Oh, and Happy New Year. My next column won't appear until 2014.


1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Bring you Good wishes of happiness.

    Sorry for greeting you earlier,, just don't want miss saying this.
    By the way, I'm clotee. It's my first time visiting your blog. I am blogger

    too, and now try my best luck to open an e-store. Nice to know you.

    Regards,
    Clotee

    ReplyDelete