Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Day 1 Der Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum is how the song begins.  While we think it means O Christmas Tree it actually means O Fir Tree!  Because of my German heritage, I have long been aware of the German custom of Christmas trees and using candles to light the tree.

Over the years we have had various types of trees.  Usually our trees were about 6 to 7 feet tall.  They have been real, artificial, long needle, short needle, purchased from a tree lot and self cut.  My husband and I as well as out kids grew up in the Chicago area so getting the tree always involved boots, gloves or mittens, and usually hot chocolate afterwards.

Growing up we always had real trees but when my children were little and wanted the tree up from early December onward, we switched to artificial trees for safety reasons.  Much later after we moved to Florida, we actually drove to Georgia to go tree hunting with Dave's sister and her family.  It was still snowy and the area was a forest of trees.  We made our selections and had help tying the trees to the tops of the cars.    It worked pretty well going back to town but driving down I-75 back to Florida beat up our tree pretty well.  After that it was back to the artificial trees since there was no hope of keeping a real tree alive for a couple of weeks in south Florida.

Decorating the tree was done in parts.  Dad did the lights and usually the ornaments and the kids got to add the tinsel.  Dad was a perfectionist about the tinsel and wanted each strand individually placed.  As kids we were much more interested in throwing handfuls at the tree to get finished faster.  With the artificial trees the tinsel was replaced by silver and gold garlands.  Dave always adjusted them to his vision.

photo from World Map Switzerland Valais Mund   via google images