4. Christmas Trees

One Christmas tree was a given in my childhood. It was a small, white tabletop tree that my grandmother would put on top of her grand piano each year. By the time all of the aunts and uncles and cousins were at her house there would be a pile of presents covering the piano and the floor around it. We did things a little differently than most families. Instead of getting up first thing in the morning and diving in, we would wait until we’d had our Christmas dinner and all the dishes were done and then one person would be chosen to hand out gifts one at a time. We would all watch the person open their gift and deliver the appropriate oohs and ahhs and the gift would be passed around for everyone to look at while the next person received a gift.

As a child it was often agonizing to wait for a gift, but it definitely taught me patience and allowed me to learn that Christmas was not primarily about me getting everything I wanted. I’m very thankful for that.

In the earliest years of our marriage, Keith and I always got a live tree. Sometimes it came from the Optimist Club lot and sometimes we went hiking through the woods to find one. For a while there was a Christmas tree farm about 20 miles from Monticello and we bought one there a few times. It was fun to watch them put it through the shaker and watch all the loose needles come off.

A few years ago Keith’s allergies got the best of him and we had to make the transition to an artificial tree. It doesn’t smell as good, but it’s easier for everyone and these days, easy is good.


Ziggy has been on every one of our trees. I gave it to Keith at a Regina Christmas party the Christmas before we got married. The first few years, he substituted for a star or angel on top, but now he’s just part of the ornaments we’ve collected over the years.


I have several of these little guys. They open up in the middle and my grandmother used to put money inside of them for the great-grandchildren. When she passed away there were several unused boxes of them left so I brought them home to add to my tree. I like having ornaments that mean something.


This is a recent addition to our tree. It came from an ornament exchange with my library co-workers. I don’t know about you, but if I were Santa this is exactly what I would do after Christmas.

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