Paris Goodnight: Oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your little branches

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 18, 2022

When I was young, my grandparents used to decorate a cedar tree cut from a pasture on their farm for Christmas. To me, it looked just as nice as any Christmas tree I could imagine.

When my own children were growing up, one of my favorite adventures was going to cut our own Christmas tree. We tried several nearby locations, but the best was when we found the perfect tree on a farm not far off Hurley School Road.

The drought years from many moons ago I think finally doomed that operation and we later turned to pulling out an artificial tree that was kept in the attic for 11 months before being brought back out during the holiday season.

I’ve never been as much of a fan of doing it that way but it is a lot easier, and a lot cheaper than getting a new tree each year — especially at the prices they’re going for these days. I actually haven’t looked too closely, but if they’re like everything else, they’re sky high. I heard one report of what someone paid this year and it made me cringe, just as I did when I reached for a dozen eggs at the grocery store recently.

My favorite Christmas tree of all remains the one we decorated in our first year of marriage. We had an indoor ficus tree, or some sort of similar greenery to brighten our one bedroom apartment off in the great white north of Vermont. It may have been artificial or a live plant, but either way, it provided a little indoor color to what can be some cold, drab days in that part of the world.

And if you’ve ever dreamed of a white Christmas, well surely that’s where you’re likely to be in luck most years. Unfortunately, the one winter we were there, it didn’t snow for us but it was definitely cold enough to stick if it would have.

And when I say one winter there, my wife had made it perfectly clear that after suffering through that long cold spell, she was moving back south before the next winter rolled around whether I came along or not.

As for the tree, if you’ve ever enjoyed the Charlie Brown Christmas special, you’ve got a general idea of what it looked like: small, droopy and not much of a winner, even for Snoopy. But just like the cartoon, if you looked at it under the right circumstances, say when the lighting was just right and the hot chocolate had just been poured, it was as pretty as any decoration you’d ever want to see if you’re far from home and trying to figure out how you fit into the grand scheme of things as a young couple just getting started out in the great wide world.

If you happened to walk into the room and saw it over near a window, you might not be very impressed, but just like Charlie Brown, you might end up with a smile on your face if someone tweaked one of the little ornaments or a strand of color to make it appear just a little better than before.

I know it did its job as the in-laws made the trek up for a visit and brought good cheer from home along with them.

And all the other bigger and better trees over the years may have been a shade brighter and filled the living room a little better, but that little tree remains my favorite of all. And we really did move back south after one winter there because it’s always sunny and warmer around here on Christmas, right?

Why I hear it’s supposed to be a balmy 16 degrees overnight when Santa makes his trek our way this year.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post.