Tree Trimming!

Tree Trimming!

Christmas is Here!

By Mary Emma Allen

Memories of Christmas past, shared with families today, create a heritage of holiday lore. Among these memories are stories about Christmas tree trimming along with favorite foods that accompany these occasions. As we decorate the tree, some of us may have ornaments that date to previous years.

"Why do we have an angel on the top of the tree," my grandson asked.

The one they use was made by his mother, delightful in white billowy dress. Then I tell him about the star that topped our tree when I was a child. This was made of silvery tinsel, with a circle in the center where a bulb popped through so the star glowed.

I was so pleased to find this star when I helped my mom move from her home several years ago. Although it's well used, the star remains a reminder of days ago. I can share these memories with my daughter and her children and pass along stories of tree trimming for their heritage.

Tree Trimming Time

Trimming or decorating the Christmas tree means a festive occasion when families pull out the boxes of ornaments, lights and other adornments. Some families make special cookies to hang upon the tree and munch on as they work.

Somehow ornaments capture our attention whether we see them on a tree, in an antique shop, a department store, or flea market. My daughter and I browse around these shops to find ornaments of long ago.

In addition to the tinsel star which topped the hemlock Christmas trees of my childhood, there were bubble lights. When these came into vogue in the early 1950s, my father thought them fascinating and purchased them for our tree.

I found one of these, too, when I discovered the star. It probably doesn't work, but calls to mind stories of tree trimming I can share. I even mentioned bubble lights in a story I wrote, "The Live Christmas Tree Ornament."

Homemade Ornaments

Tree ornaments might be those purchased, received as gifts, or made by hand. My mother said she loved the colored paper chains we children made for our tree. She made us think they were more treasured than any bought in a store. To her they may have been.

Encourage your children to make ornaments, whether paper chains, popcorn and cranberry strings, decorations cut from old Christmas cards, or painted wooden ones. A friend recently told me how her mom encouraged them to make ornaments each year. The mother kept them and now gives the handmade treasures to grandchildren to hang on their trees.

Tree Trimming Treats

Your tree trimming treats may consist of a special evening meal, perhaps a simple one made ahead, so Mom has more time for the holiday fun. Or you may enjoy simply cookies and hot spiced cider as you decorate and sing carols.

A BAKED BEAN CASSEROLE could be made ahead and provide an easy meal with slices of ham and a tossed salad. This is a favorite recipe of my daughter's.

Fry 8 slices of bacon until crisp. Cook 3 diced onions in a dab of bacon fat until golden. Add 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 1/2 cup cider vinegar. Cook with the onions for about 20 minutes, slowly.

Pour this mixture over beans in a casserole dish. The beans consist of 2 cans lima beans, 10 oz. package frozen green limas, partially cooked, 1 can red kidney beans, 1 can baked beans (but without the pork). Crumble the bacon and place on the top.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for an hour.

(Incidentally the book, Christmas Ornaments, Lights & Decorations by George Johnson gives you a great deal of information about these tree trims, as well as pictures that may bring back memories. (Note: this book is out of print , but they do have copies at Abebooks.)

(c)2004 Mary Emma Allen

About the author

Mary Emma Allen writes for children and gives author presentations in schools. "Tales of Adventure & Discovery" contains many of her children's stories, poems, and illustrations. Her picture book, "Sarah Jane's Daring Deed" soon will be published. Visit her web site:


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