Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I spent yesterday putting Christmas lights on our spruce tree. The tree is now thirty years old. The first year in this house, we decided to have a live tree for Christmas. We bought a two foot tall, blue spruce. It was so cute sitting on the end table in front of the living room window. After we opened presents, the kid and I pulled off the decorations. During the football game half-time, Lloyd dug a hole in the yard and we planted that tree.

About two years later, the tree was about four feet tall, so I put a string of lights on it. The year after that, someone came by during the day while my husband and I were at work and stole the top third of the tree—and the lights, too. For the next years, we had a bush, but we put lights on it anyway. Eventually, one of the top branches turned up to form a leader. The tree is now approximately twenty-five feet tall. I can't reach the top, even standing on the top step of the ladder and using the long pole with a hook on the end.

For the past few years I've been saying no more decorations. Lloyd doesn't have the stamina for it anymore. The kids are gone. I don't decorate nearly as much inside the house. Still the neighbors say every year how much they enjoy seeing the lighted tree. So the lights are up once again, and I've added some commercial spiral trees to add some color between the spruce and the porch.

The word of the day for November 26, 2008 is "
tradition" — Pronunciation: \trə-ˈdi-shən\ Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tradicioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French tradicion, from Latin tradition-, traditio action of handing over, tradition — more at treason
Date: 14th century
1 a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom). b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable. 2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction. 3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions. 4: characteristic manner, method, or style [in the best liberal tradition].

Our quote of the day if from Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936), British author. “The Ethics of England,” ch. 4, Orthodoxy (1909):
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes—our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.


  1. Very nice post, and an excellent tradition. I'd start something similar, but I've put a kabosh (sp?) on any trees on our greenspace, as Lisa's already commandeered the rest for the kids toys.

    With apologies for my spelling,


  2. It is wonderful that you have kept it going for so long. We said we would stop decorating but now we have the two little grandsons we shall still put some decorations up although we are cutting down.

  3. How quickly does life go by?
    We have yet to plant a tree for our Wonder Girl. The ground is too frozen solid now and the poor tree would have to be bundled up in scarf, hat, mittens and limb warmers. I hope we can do the deed before WG is a college graduate.
    Lovely that you have something to remind you of Christmases gone past, Jan.

  4. Your tree looks stunning, and what a beautiful tradition you are perpetuating in your family by decorating it. Hard to imagine it was once of a size to fit on a table!


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