Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: The Christmas Tree

Today is the first day of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2011!

So what is this online event about? Several genealogy bloggers in 2007 came up with the idea of creating an Advent Calendar that consist of different Christmas and holiday-related topics that would give genea-bloggers an opportunity to document and share how our families, and ancestors celebrated, or continue to celebrate Christmas.

Today’s featured topic is – The Christmas Tree – and the questions are:


Did you have a real tree or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree? What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

I would have to say that our family has experienced both – real and artificial trees for Christmas! My mom loved how a real Christmas tree made our home smell during the holidays. So it was a yearly ritual for dad to purchase a real pine or fir tree by the 16th of December for us to decorate. The size of our Christmas trees varied over the years. During those lean years when money was scarce, our trees were small and a bit skimpy (just check out the Christmas 1959 photo above). We had one box of ornaments and if more ornaments were needed, we simply made some out of  pine cones we found in the yard. We would spray the pine cones different colors, attach a thin thread to the top of them, and hang them on the tree. Sometimes we would decorate our trees with threaded popcorn; other times, we would decorate them with green and red garland with splashes of silver icicles for added pizzazz!


But when times got better for us financially, our real Christmas trees were larger, taller, fuller — decorated with ribbons, candy canes, and a variety of  handmade ornaments (just check out the Christmas 1982 photo to the right!)

Even though artificial trees were popular and considered cost effective, convenient, and better for our environment, we did not own one until I was a teenager. Since I was the last one to leave the nest for college,  my parents switched to an artificial table-top tree for the grand-babies to decorate, and passed our large artificial tree on to my oldest brother and his family to enjoy for the holidays. In fact, my brother just informed me that they still have our family’s first artificial Christmas tree and plan on decorating  it for this holiday season!

When I asked my mom what type of Christmas tree she had in her home as a child/teen growing up during 1928-1945,  I learned there were very few trees and gifts in her home at Christmas. The money that would have been used to purchase a tree and gifts was used to keep a roof over their heads and buy food to fill their tummies. She said there were times when she was disappointed because there was no tree, or gifts for Christmas. But her disappointment didn’t last very long because she and her family really had all that they needed for the holidays – love, peace, and joy and each other!

So. . .  what type of tree did you and/or your ancestors have in the home for Christmas? Let me hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: The Christmas Tree

  1. What wonderful memories…and how cool that the first artificial tree has been in the family for so long.

    Wishing the Taylor family and all related kin a joyous holiday, Liv.


    • Thank you so much Dee. It was a surprise for me to hear that my brother still had our tree. I am going to have to stop by and check it out this year.

      I too wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and joyous New Year!


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