Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Remembering the Christmas Tree Lots of Yesteryear

I was very surprised to see in a friend's blog post that Christmas tree lots still exist in some big cities. With just one photograph, memories began flooding back. Why, it's been years and years since I remembered getting a Christmas tree from a lot. Some of that is because it's hard to remember, from a heart standpoint, when my family was full and living. There are so few of us left in my family of origin. And we had been a huge family, twelve around the table for supper. Now there are four and they are scattered over the globe. 

Christmas feather angel ornament

The tree lots had those hanging swags of lights, like a county fair. The bright smell of pine and fir was in the air. Sometimes, just like in the Peanuts show, there would be searchlights crisscrossing the low clouds that usually hung over New Orleans as the lots vied for customers. It seemed so strange and festive. And the sellers of the trees, hailing from Minnesota, were as interesting as the trees they sold. They were as astounded by our green and warm Christmastide as we were by their presence, their accents, and their talk of snow "back home." 

My last fresh-cut tree was bought almost 30 years ago, when I lived in New Mexico the first time. The area where the lot was set up is now unrecognizable, with a Walmart Supercenter sprawled over it. It had been raining, which is always exciting in the desert, and the lot was churned mud. I had a pair of knee-high wading boots on from my previous home, and I headed out to a cluster of Noble Firs when I bogged down completely. I could not pull my feet up, stuck fast and very surprised. At the time, I was still young and very thin, not even 100 pounds. To my relief but great embarrassment, one of the men at the lot slogged out to me and pulled me out of the mud -- but my boots were left behind. He carried me around, showing me the trees as if it's normal to have customers lose their footwear, and I picked one. Then he took me to the car, got it open, and in I went, socks still clean. But I never saw the boots again.

I wonder who still uses a fresh-cut tree? I'd love to, but even our hardware stores have stopped carrying them, except for potted Norfolk Pines. And they don't seem much like Christmas trees to me, even though we did have one on the porch in New Orleans for many years. At Christmastime, my mother would put a set of those red satin-wrapped 60's ornaments on it.

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly


  1. I grew up in Maine where the christmas trees grow we always cut a tree from my grandfather's land. We had to stop having a real tree when my daughter had allergies to it she was sick every christmas until a Dr figured it out.
    So now she is grown we still do the fake tree but oh how I miss the smell of balsam. we still have tree lots mostly run by nonprofits such as boy scouts and rotary. you had a large family must of been fun at times

  2. Up until last year we still had lots around, I'm not so sure about this year, and within driving distance tree farms to cut your own. It's been many years since we've had a real tree ( I was a kid ). Every year I ask, and it just didn't get done. So I went and bought my dream tree,(artificial) not cheap, and this year I'll have my forest looking tree. But the aroma of pines, delightful and fills my head with memories of Christmas long ago, Simple joy

  3. Oh I love your story of losing your boots in the mud and having to be carried around by a stranger in order to choose your tree. For years we had real trees but then we couldn't put the tree up until shortly before Christmas or it would get too dry and start losing all its needles. So we switched to an artificial tree. I've heard you can actually but room spray that smells like fresh pine. Somehow I am doubtful.

  4. Oh ladies, my eyes are as big as silver dollars at your comments! Cathy, so glad you got the allergy problem with your daughter figured out! Faith, cannot wait to see your tree if you post pictures of it! Good, you got a tree you wanted, even if artificial! Granny, that's right, you have reminded me that the real trees were put up right before Christmas. I had forgotten that somehow. And I hear all three of you, the scents of the trees are very missed!

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