Friday, November 29, 2013

O Christmas Tree!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
How are thy leaves so verdant!
Not only in the summertime,
But even in winter is thy prime.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!


O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!
For ev’ry year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!


O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are thy branches!
Not only green when summer's here
But in the coldest time of year.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are thy branches!


O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How sturdy God hath made thee!
Thou bidds't us all place faithfully
Our trust in God, unchangingly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How sturdy God hath made thee!


O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!


We hear this song each year, and it makes us think of those lovely trees we put up in our homes. Of course, our daughter had a different version of this when she was about 4 years old. Her version said, “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your britches!”

Gotta love it!

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Do you put up an artificial tree or go for the fragrant fresh variety? When I was growing up there was no such thing as an artificial tree, and I remember making the trip to the tree lot on the north side of town to choose just the right tree. We went to the same place each year, and it was such an exciting thing to do! Sometimes it was just my Dad, sister and me on our expedition. Other times Mom went along. And it was especially fun when it was snowing or had recently snowed. I still love that smell and miss the fresh trees, but the artificial trees are just so convenient.

If you plan to put up a fresh tree, here is some information:

Tree Varieties:

There are many varieties, but some will last longer than others. The longest-lasting would be the Fraser fir (about 6 weeks after cutting), the Scotch Pine and Douglas Fir.

When You Get It Home:

Keep the tree outside until ready to put into the stand. Cut a small piece off the bottom of the trunk and set it in a bucket of water until ready to bring it inside. This will allow it to soak up the water. Be sure to keep it watered – if not, a sap seal will close up the bottom of the tree and a new cut will be needed. The trees like lots of water, especially when first brought inside. It may absorb up to a gallon of water in the first 24 hours, and several quarts after that.

To Keep The Tree Fresh -

There are solutions you can buy to keep it fresh, but you can also make your own. 

TREE PRESERVATIVE

1/4 cup micronized iron (available at garden stores)
1 gallon hot water
2 cups light corn syrup
4 teaspoons chlorine bleach

Mix well. Replenish daily as needed. Makes 1 gallon.

(Hint: Place plastic under the tree in case of spills.)

Decorating the Tree -

Many people love to have “theme” trees, and others opt for a traditional style that includes decorations collected over the years. I love the old-fashioned trees full of color and variety. This brings to mind our year of the “Blue Christmas” – Mom decided to decorate everything in blue. Blue lights on the tree, blue ornaments, etc. It was pretty, but not something I’d want to do every year. 

As for lights on the tree, there are the mini lights or the big bulbs that have been popular for so many years. If you have questions as to how many mini lights you’ll need:

2 foot tree (35 to 50 lights)
3 foot tree (70 to 100 lights)
4 foot tree (100 to 140 lights)
6 foot tree (200 to 280 lights)
7 foot tree (315 to 400 lights)
9 foot tree (600 to 900 lights)

And do you remember the bubble lights? We loved those!

There are so many types of garlands you can use! I love the glass bead garlands as they look very old-fashioned. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 foot tree (15 to 20 feet)
4 foot tree (30 to 40 feet)
6 foot tree (50 to 75 feet)
7 foot tree (75 to 95 feet)

Tree Safety -

Trees love to be cool and out of drafts. Don’t put it near the fireplace or heat registers. Be sure all light cords are in good condition before using. Always unplug the lights when leaving the house or going to bed.

And how do you choose a good tree? Here are a few tips. Break off a couple of needles. If they snap crisply, the tree is fresh. If the needles bend they have no moisture. Another freshness test is to lift the tree and bump the trunk on the ground – if outer needles fall off, it’s not fresh. Also look for good color and fragrance.

Some Christmas Tree Facts -

The first recorded decorated tree was in Latvia in 1510.

Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states.

For each tree that is cut for Christmas, there are two or three seedlings planted. And on average about 2,000 trees are planted per acre.

Christmas trees take 7 to 10 years to mature.
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“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” 

(Bob Hope)
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On a totally different note - as National Caregivers Month comes to a close, please remember those who are caring for someone, either living in their home or in a facility of some sort, especially at this busy time of year. If you can be of help, offer it! Caregivers can always use a break....I know from experience!
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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!






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