When I was growing up my family didn't have money for a Christmas tree. However, we had a tree each and every year. I don't know where a few of them came from, and I don't know how my mom managed to make sure we had a tree. Our Christmas trees were always a surprise and beautiful to us.
In the 60's people were getting into a lot of flash. Silver trees for Christmas. I shudder to think about it now. But, when I was 10 years old that is what our tree was. It was an aluminum tree with a color wheel of the basic colors. The wheel plugged in and turned so that a different color shined on the tree. Sounds hideous right? To me that tree was the best ever, remember that is a 10 year old's taste. It was a modern tree. Oh how beauteous that tree was!
I remember one year mom told us that there would not be a tree because she just could not afford one. No way, no how, period. There wouldn't be many gifts that year either. That year we walked to church for midnight mass as was our tradition. We loved the magic of mass at midnight and a quietly falling snow. We could feel the love as our Savior was born in to this world. That year when we got home there in our living room was a beautifully decorated tree with presents underneath it. My mom to her dying day denied knowing where the tree or the gifts came from. Back then we didn't lock our doors so it could have been anyone leaving us this wondrous gift. Ours neighbors were like that.
One year we had a Charlie Brown tree. We waited until the last moment to get a tree and all the really good ones had been chosen. The tree had brownish limbs on the bottom already and the needles fell of if the tree was moved too suddenly. The part that we put toward the room was not too bad. Fortunately we always put our tree in the corner so the bald part of the tree went there and no one knew but us that we had a poor left over tree. And we didn't care.
I picked us up a tree one time from a lot that was already closed. It was Christmas Eve and they had closed early. It was dark. I went into the business next door to pay for it and they told me that the people in charge of the trees were gone. I asked what I should do and it was recommended to me to take the tree and have a happy Christmas. I took the tree and the wheel stand.
A Christmas tree other than these already mentioned that stand out in my mind is the tree that came with food. It was about a week before Christmas. There was a knock at the front door, my mom answered it. There wasn't anyone there, but what was there was a big box of food and a wonderful tree. Again the work of generous neighbors or possible the church. That was a nice surprise.
Now days I still put up a tree, but none of my trees even come close to those of my childhood. It seems that every year was a surprise to what kind of tree we would be having. Would it be silver, or spindly, or full and beautiful? We really didn't care because we still had the love of each other and of the season.