Sunday, November 29, 2009

What's up with that tree????

I am going to guesstimate that the year was, oh I'd say 1978 or so... but anyway, what's up with that tree??? It looks like it's about to fly away. I don't know where we got this one from, but those bottom limbs are too much. Oh well, it left plenty of room for presents to go underneath. Somebody did a good job on the tinsel, however. Also, it looks like sports/workout wear was really in that year along with curly perms and feathered hair!
Let's start a new countdown shall we, how about ... Days until Christmas? ......... 26!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

ChristmasTree 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!

365 days in the making, waiting for the appointed time, and now the countdown to Christmas Tree 2009 is over. Again this year, it's a masterpiece. We trucked it out to Okatie, SC to our favorite tree farm and tromped the field for about a half hour before finding our tree. From in the house to finished decorating took about 7 hours. To be honest, I got real tired out and left about 1/3 of our ornaments in the boxes. This year's tree is bigger, maybe better than the last two years. The addition of two new boxes of old lead icicles really helped finish it off. Thanks Stan for helping me cut the trunk again when we got home... if anyone needs a gift idea for us... a sharp new saw would be the trick. Enjoy the pics and some more commentary below.

Here is the tree just in the house after the traditional and soul-tyring struggle with the stand. Yeah, it looks a bit wonky now, but I love a tree-challenge, we are much preferring the natural look from the self-chopped tree.

Coming up in this month's blog... some more great pics of Christmases past. Thanks for stopping in. Terry.

7 hours later, and all the finishing touches are in place, except the tree skirt, I notice now. What a great effect the old icicles give the tree.
Nothing says Merry Christmas like shredded lead hanging on pine branches!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! 11-26-09

Here is a great tree I decorated back in my seminary days... early '90's... Mother posing with the tree with her super long '90's hair. Yes, that is snow outside the window. This was taken in the last week of December, the DC area got a huge amount of snow that year, a few days after Christmas.
The tree was a Fraser Fir, from a nursery in MD. The decorations, mostly glass ornaments from years and years built up in the seminary house's attic... it all made a lovely tree.
It's Thanksgiving Day 2009. Hope everyone has a great day with family and friends and hope and pray that all people today have enough to eat, and that hunger will become a thing of the past, nourish your body, and nourish your spirit on this day that we are all most grateful for.
And... since the turkey day is here, that means that our going to get our tree day is even closer. Days til we get our tree.........2!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nov. 24,2009

Goose Feathers!? yes, these old trees, the first of the artificial trees around. made of delicate yet rigid pin feathers of geese. The feather trees were the ultimate in displays for hanging the most select ornaments. Though the true feather trees are hard to come by these days, some can be found in antique stores or on web-bid sites like e-"you know". But, if you do find one and want to buy it, be prepared to pay extraordinary prices for them. The picture here from the '30's is unusual in that the tree is rather large. The true feather trees I have seen in person are quite small, table top sizes. There are substitutes out there, same shape and size, but made with pvc tree material like the standard artificial trees today.
Days til we go get our tree.................. 5!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Nov. 22, 2009

In just a week the house and halls will be decked-out for the Christmas celebration. The tree pictured here came from a site on the Internet. It's a great tree, the kind I like with long wide spaced branches, plenty of room for the handing ornaments and icicles.

I don't think we will find this sort of tree in our area, at our local Christmas tree farm. But, I am confident that we will find the right tree for us. For the past two years we have selected and cut a Virginia pine. The needles are long, about 3", and the foliage is a dark green with a blue tint. If you have ever seen the movie "A Christmas Story"... who hasn't? Our trees look pretty much like that tree that Ralphie and his family choose from the tree lot. That's the kind of look I have been going for in my trees recently. I like the vintage look of the Christmas trees from the late '30's and the '40's. I use the big C7 ceramic lights, some thin tinsel garland, and lots of lead icicles. However, unlike Ralphie's family, we don't wait until Christmas eve to decorate the tree... yep, we are all about getting things started the Sat. or Sunday after Thanksgiving. When a time is so wonderful and happy as Christmas comes just once a year, I say, why not enjoy it as long as possible. Happy Sunday everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving!

The picture here to the left is another great decorated tree from my childhood home. This one is another of the perfectly shaped and fragrant Fraser Firs. Mother uses a pearl bead garland on her trees that really gives it an elegant and traditional look. And, in this pic, it looks like Santa has already made his visit.
Days til we go get our tree ................... 6!

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20, 2009 In the Pines

So, a pine tree may not be the ideal tree you think of for a Christmas tree. Fir trees are the standard these days... as they are readily available and shipped in from NC and VA. However, before the advent of the massive home store retailers and nursery/greenhouses offering trees for sale, most people had to go out and cut one down, so, it goes to reason that you cut down what was available in your local area. For instance, when Mother was growing up they always had a pine tree, not sure of the variety, but my grandfather went out into the marshy woods along side the swampy Savannah River. From what I hear, he set out with an axe and came back with a Christmas tree, home/locally grown, natural, and free. From this pics, these naturally grown pines can offer some difficult decorating challenges... few branches, long and up swept branches, extremely long needles, and often crocked trunks. All these things might give us pause these days when decorating. But, when having a tree in the house for the holidays, really does it matter if it's not perfectly shaped and grown on a picturesque snowy hillside in Virginia? No, these days, I am for "the homey-er, the better" look in a tree, and accept the decorating challenges. It makes me feel like I am being a part of the past when we go out and cut down our pine tree. It's one of the ways that Christmas has become more of a special time of the year for us. Again, I am going to post the picture from my mother's childhood home in Port Wentworth, back in 1950, one of those pine trees that Granddaddy cut down with his axe from the woods aside the Savannah River.

Days til we go get our tree............. 8!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Trees Are Here! Nov. 18, 2009

Just can't believe how fast the holidays seem to be coming this year. The fresh cut trees at the lots appeared today in our area. With the warm weather, I hope they last and stay as fresh as possible.
All of the tree-lot trees in our area are the ever-popular Fraser Firs, making the trip down from North Carolina. The pic here is of a Fraser Fir, at Mother's house, I am going to say in the mid to late '80's. We thought we had arrived when you could get the fragrance of a Balsam with the near perfect and full shape of the Fraser Fir all in one tree.
Now my tastes have turned to a more traditional look in a Christmas tree, so I am not preferring theses bushy trees anymore... not enough open space for the ornaments to hang properly, in my opinion.
That popcorn garland on the tree pictured here is real. It takes a lot of popcorn and lots of patience. Note to the brave who will take on this task.... you can't string popcorn that has been popped in oil, it must be dry popped! It's simply impossible to string the oily buttered popcorn. But, once done it adds the most amazing smell when combined with the fresh tree. Try it if you dare.
Days until we go get our tree...10!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dreaming of a White Christmas Tree Part II

See yesterday's blog post for what this tree looked like before it was decorated! The poor tree under all that white fluff really took a beating. The weight of the flocking, the lights, the bead garland, and all those blue and silver ornaments really took a toll on that poor skinny tree. But, it really looked snow covered now, didn't it?

That's Bret in the pic, one of my best friends from the CA days. God often blesses us with tremendous friends all through our life, and Bret has remained a good friend and loyal communicator for the past 8 years. He is a hoot, one of the funniest people I know, and talented to boot. B, I hope you don't mind being out there in the blogsphere. That was a fun night, the night that tree was decorated. It turned out to be quite a wild party, about 12 of those ornaments got smashed, and a couple of ashtrays and cocktails glasses got broken as well. But, it was great fun. The next picture is not the white tree, but it is the closest pic I could find... that shows what this tree looked like before it got flocked!

Thanks for checking in and reading my special holiday blog posts.

Days til we go cut down our tree...11! Temps are still in the '70's here, we have the windows and doors open, whew, it's warm for November.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Was Dreaming of a Whte Christams Tree!

Temperatures were in the high '70's here today, so, again, kinda hard to get in the mood for tree decorating. I am hoping for a gradual drop in temps. as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.
So, when I lived in CA, they would do just about anything to a Christmas tree. The flocking would come in many colors at some tree lots. One year I decided that I was finally going to get a live tree flocked white and use all blue decorations. Here is that very tree, a "pencil" noble fir as we used to call them in the SF, CA floral world. However, the "flockers" went a little overboard and the spray on snow really weighed the branches down. I will have to locate a pic of this tree completely decorated to show you what it looked like finished. Well, they just don't do flocking down here in the south, but, I think that one flocked tree per lifetime is plenty... really.
Days til we go and cut our tree...12! Come on cool weather!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15, 2009

Well, here we are on the beach, Sat. Nov. 14th... can't believe that in just two short weeks, we will be out looking for our Christmas Tree.

It's kinda hard to get in the holiday spirit for decorating and gift shopping when the temps are in the '70's, but we will put forth an effort to get in the mood for the season, cause, yes, we are those annoying types who use the days off after Thanksgiving to deck the halls and start wrapping the gifts. Christmas is such a joyful time of year filled with happiness and love, that I want to experience for as long as I can, before the dark of winter and the long cold months really set in. Not to mention that to me and mine the Christmas season, preceded by Advent is very important to our spiritual lives as Christians.

Here is a pic of last year's tree... when getting ready to get ready for the tree pick'n it might be good to remind me what a nice tree we had in 2008... kinda raises the bar on the tree search for 2009.

Days til we go get our tree for 2009... 13!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Looking for the PERFECT tree...

I found this picture on some other site. It made me think of what the Perfect tree means to me as far as choosing the just right tree for your holiday home. Years ago, before the advent of toady's "family adventure choose and cut your own" we always headed to Daffin Park in mid-town Savannah. Daffin park played host to about three or four tree lots during the season. Some were The Italian Club, the YMCA, St. Michael's Church, etc. These were the traditional , every year organizations that offered fresh cut trees to the citizens of Savannah. Many years we made the rounds of all the tree lots in the lot before choosing our tree. Most of the time they were the good ole Balsam trees that more than likely made more than a thousand mile journey from Nova Scotia or some other farm supplier in southern Canada. Anyway, we were strict Balsam folks, always shunning the scotch pines, we thought them an inferior tree. You know, too bushy and full, not enough space for "hanging" ornaments. Anyway, these days, the balsams can't be found, they have been replaced by the full and flawlessly shaped Frasier Firs from North Carolina. They are great trees, and I have had many of them, but I am really longing for the old Balsam days, a little less perfect tree with more room to hang all those ornaments I have. We will go to our regular tree farm this year... in about 2 weeks! Yikes it's coming up so soon. (we always decorate the tree on the Sat. or Sunday after Thanksgiving.) We'll get us a home grown Virginia Pine, grown in South Carolina. If it's too bushy, well, we'll just trim and thin it out a bit to make room for all the ornaments so they'll hang just right. The second picture is of my parent's first tree in the house we live in when I was born, it's one of those great old Balsam trees, more than likely picked out from one of the tree lots in Daffin Park, decorated with lots and lots, and lots of tinsel icicles. That's dad way back in 1964, putting some presents under the tree.

And, again one of those great old 3x3 snapshots with the date of developing printed on the outer frame. Looks like it was a busy winter as this pic of Christmas 1964 wasn't developed until June of 1965.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 12, 2009

Hi Folks, just a short posting tonight. Sharing another vintage pic from the family archive. This tree was for Christmas 1962, back at the grandparents home in Paradise Park neighborhood of Savannah. It's a pine tree of the typical variety, most likely my grandfather cut this on down himself... not sure where he would have cut it since the family had moved to the suburbs by this time. Again with the lead tinsel! Looks like someone got golf clubs for Christmas. I like the way the film developers used to post the date on the side of the pics... looks like it took Nana a few months to get this roll developed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big Hair and Vintage Christmas 11/11/09

First off, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Veteran's Day. A big thank you to all those who put themselves in harms way to ensure our freedom.

Next, thanks to all those who visited my blog and left comments concerning the new holiday theme.
So, I don't know if mother is going to smack me for including the picture on the left, but I couldn't resist it. Don't know who that is in the pic on the right, but couldn't resist that on either. It was Christmas in the 60's. It's a two of everything them when you think of it. Two pine Christmas trees, to big hairdos, and two babies, quite identical. The pic on the left with me Mother and Jerry was definitely Christmas of 1966, and judging my the background, again at my grandparents home in Savannah. Those pine trees make right nice little Christmas trees, huh. And, again, lots of old lead icicles right in the reach of the babies!
Strangely enough the Nativity Scene in the pic on the right, the one that I don't know who it is, or where it was taken... is the same kind of Nativity that my grandmother had, and my brother still has...

Cant' resist the dig on the furniture... notice the clear plastic slip cover on the chair in the pic on the right.... gotta love the '60's!

Till tomorrow... Terry.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10, 2009 More Vintage Christmas

As promised, here are a couple of vintage Christmas pics from my own collection. The one on the left, me and my twin brother (should be obvious) Jerry, at my grandparents home in Savannah, GA. I am going to set this picture in the year 1970, so we were approx. 5 years old at the time. Love the tree in this one. I recognize most of the ornaments, some me and my brother still own and use on our own Christmas trees. This was in the day when the most available tree in our area was the good ole Balsam. Kinda skinny and straggly, but very, very fragrant and plenty of hanging room for ornaments. Thanks to Nana's thrifty Depression era spirit, those long heavy lead icicles were used year in and year out. I think they were finally thrown away in 1990 just shortly after Nana passed away and her house was rented. Plus, that's Nana's handwriting at the bottom of the picture letting people know which twin was which.
The second pic is much older and in much graver condition. The pic reads 1949 on the back. Again my grandparents home, but long before they were grandparents. This tree was in the house on Applebee St. in Port Wentworth, GA. Those were the days when tradition and economics drove my grandfather into the swampy woods beside the Savannah River to cut down a small pine tree. It does have some charm, and looks like about 12 lights. The old heavy lead icicles were there then with their sparkle. Looks like Santa was good to the little girls at this house by bringing someone a doll, and someone else a stuffed dog toy. Notice the Nativity Scene, it is still in use to this day at my brother's home in Maryland.
Funny Christmas Story to share... My grandmother, Nana, thought that the nativity was such an important event, that more people should have been in attendance, SO, she bought extra wise men and shepherds for her Nativity Scene. That story makes me laugh every time I think about it!
Thanks for stopping in to my special Holiday version of Flowers for Royal Weddings. Terry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A New Subject for the Holidays! Nov. 9, 2009

O.K. y'all, so this subject line has nothing whatsoever to do with royal weddings or flowers for royal weddings, but, I was getting a little stale with the royal weddings... you know, too much of a good thing...

So, for the next couple of months, I thought I would do some blogging about Christmas, in particular, one of the most loved and time honored of Christmas traditions... the Christmas Tree. I have been doing lots of reading on the web lately on the history of this custom. From Germany, or Lithuania, or Romania, or the Nordic countries... there is lots of speculation as to who decorated a Christmas tree first. Well, I will leave that up to the historians.

I think I will talk about my idea of the perfect Christmas tree. This idea to me is an amalgamation of the trees from my childhood and the trees I have decorated as an adult, and the experience of lots of holiday decorating while a part of the floral industry. So, I am a big lover of the vintage look in a tree and by vintage, I mean decorations from the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's ( not so much the '70's)

Also, I really do prefer a live tree. At one time in my childhood I thought that having an artificial tree was the sign that you had arrived and were well off financially. My grandparents had an artificial tree, and they were about the most financially well off people I knew at the time, so in my mind, the connection had been made. At one point as an adult, I let a doctor convince me that I was deathly allergic to fir and pine trees, which gave me the perfect justification to spend the money on an artificial tree... or an "arti" as me and my siblings one referred to the fake trees. But, after truly coming home in my late '30's, I devoted all my future Christmases to using a fresh tree, and in the past two years, a tree that we cut ourselves.

The picture featured tonight is mine and Stan's tree from 2008, it was a masterpiece, I thought. Lots of vintage ornaments I have collected over the years, big C7 or ceramic lights, bead garland, tinsel garland, bubble lights, lead icicles, and some really special things. The most precious of my possessions, a pink glass rose ornament given to me by my mother, and the tree top angel, which was my grandmothers... I cherish more than gold. The tree itself came from a local tree farm in the Low Country of SC near our home. We have really started to make a day of it by getting breakfast on the way off the island and listen to Christmas music on the CD player as we head about 30 miles into the country looking for our tree. I have seen many, many websites of tree farms recently and ours is a little bit different in that there is never any snow (often we have to wear short sleeves as mid-day temps here can still be quite warm, especially after hiking through the tree fields, then sawing down and dragging our tree back to the shed.

Last year, it took me about 7 hours from start to finish to complete the tree. Stan leaves me to it and does some baking while I am decorating... I do it all, put it in the stand, add the lights, then the garlands, then the ornaments, then the tree topper, then finish it all off with the icicles, or tinsel, whichever term you prefer.

As we go through the holiday season, I will be featuring some vintage Christmas tree pictures I have collected on the web. My apologies ahead of time if I am using any pics that I shouldn't. If there is anyone who objects, please leave a comment, and the pic will be removed at the next posting.

I hope everyone will enjoy the new topics of discussion for the next couple of months. I will heavily chronicle our tree hunt and the decorating process this year for everyone to see.

All right, so I couldn't get through a single post without a royal reference. Here is pic from the web of a post card from Victorian England. The scene is of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children... all princes and princesses, decorating their tree. It is thought by many that this post card ignited the general public's interest in Christmas trees and desire to immolate the royal family in all their customs and fashions. Prince Albert brought the tradition of a table top tree with candles, toys, fruits and candies for decorations... from his native Coburg, Germany. Thanks Prince Albert!

Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2, 2009

Well, here it is, no more waiting from this blogger. Freddie and Sophie's wedding in September. Here we get to see the wonderful bouquet. All white flowers in a traditional cascade. I see dembrobium orchids, roses, and other white flowers. I think the style and shape really compliment Sophie's traditional gown with full skirt. Let's here y'all's comments on the bouquet...
Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... When Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Phillip in 1947, one of the wedding gifts they received was a cloth garment woven by Mahatma Gandhi... he wove it himself.