When I tell someone my current Christmas tree (s) are made of crab pots, they look at me with a blank stare.
When Rodney and I were on Hatteras Island we discovered these magical trees. We saw a glittering, beautifully lit Christmas tree as we walked into the Maritime Museum on the sound end of the island. This unique creation constructed from green-coated crab trap mesh startled us, “We want this when we move to a retirement apartment.”
Christmas trees are a special part of the holiday season and until now a live green tree the only option. The question each year, “Do we want spruce, pine or fir?”
When my sister and I were young changing a tree from an ordinary evergreen into a vision of beauty had a strict routine. Somehow a tree appeared in the northeast corner of the living room. I remember the process of decorating the tree. First, the angel with her fluffy white wings graced the tree’s top. Mother strung the lights. Pam and I put our four favorite bulbs in front. Remember – this is before today’s popular tiny bulbs.
Two bulbs, a boy and a girl looked slightly like Hansel and Gretel with bright old-fashioned clothes. These were the most special and I still have them. They lost their ability to be lit years ago. The other two we loved – a Snow Man and Santa Claus, complete with round belly, red suit and black belt and flowing (if glass can be said to flow) beard.
The happening with the tree came after we had carefully placed every ornament. Then…came the icicles. No throwing on a bunch at a time. No, each icicle must be carefully placed forming a silvery, sheen over the whole tree.
Years later in Chicago, when our children were young, the tree happening came in the choosing and purchasing act. The five of us bundled up with jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves. We smelled the whiff of sweetness floating from the pines as we looked for the tree we wanted – always the biggest one. Hollering out, “here’s a good one” or “do we want pine or spruce this year?”
But the piece de resistance came as we stood around the fire roaring in an old metal trash cane. Our friend, Henry, turned his garden shop into the best Christmas tree lot ever. This kicked off the holiday season.
Many years later, children are grown and gone. Rodney invents an elaborate tree stand on a wheeled platform with a rope to pull it out the door in case of fire. We don’t remind him that he also fastened it to the wall so it won’t fall over.
The magic of the trees in those years were mirrored in our large picture window at the other end of the living room, making a delight of two trees for the price of one. We always stuffed as many lights and ornaments as we could on it – always the unbreakable stuff at the bottom in anticipation of small visitors.
Now – in the last round of Christmas trees – the most magical of all. Two crab pot trees reflected in and shining through my third floor picture windows exude magic. Catching sight of them from the Claridge Court courtyard is breathtaking.
No husband now to share the holiday magic so a bit of inanimate magic fills my heart with peace and cheer.