There are times when I feel like I know every Christmas song ever written....well, at least the old ones. When you start singing Christmas carols in grade school.....and singing Christmas songs with your mom every night of the season while you do the dishes.....and singing classical Christmas music in H.S. and College choirs.....and singing Christmas ditties along with all your favorite singers on the CDs they produce each year that you simply must have.....and singing Christmas songs along with the radio as you drive around town for the entire month before Christmas, you learn a lot of songs! A whole lot of songs!! Everything from "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" to "Oh Holy Night" to Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus".
When my mom was the leader of the Girl Scout Troop I was in, we sang every year at the only Christmas Tree lot in town (it was a very small town!) I don't remember any more how many years we actually did this, but it seems like it was a lot. Mom loved to sing, so she was in her element. We had song books from somewhere and we sang every verse of every song in it. Some of those songs had three or four verses! Most of those verses stuck with you after a couple of years singing them. We sang it all a capella too! Eventually everybody in town came by to get a tree (the idea of an artificial tree would have shocked us all!), and small crowds of people would stop to listen and sometimes even sing along! Of course, we sang "Oh Christmas Tree" more than once. It was fun and we all had a good time.
This was while we lived in Florida, so although some of those evenings were a little nippy, I don't ever remember getting really cold. In fact there was one year that I remember, it was summer-like....no jackets for us. We wore our scout uniforms, otherwise we would have worn shorts that year! It was warm!
One advantage of being at the tree lot early in the season was that we had early access to getting a great tree, because we sang a couple of times each year (it was a VERY small town with only a few Girl Scout Troops. Boy Scouts helped the customers carry and load trees....they did NOT sing!)
The year that it was so warm, mom didn't let that deter her from getting that perfect tree. We found one we liked, carted it home and stuck in on the back porch for a few days till it was time to put it up. We were still in the midst of the heat wave. The day came and we all went out on the back porch to bring the tree inside. I was the door-holder-opener, Little Sis was not in the picture yet, Dad was the tree carrier-inner, and Mom was the Superintendent in charge of fluffing (a very important job, best not left to amateurs!). While we waited and watched, mom reached into the middle to grab the trunk of our perfect tree, she pulled it upright and lifted it off the floor by a few inches. She then bounced in up and down, knocking it solidly on the floor. As Dad and I watched in horror EVERY single needle fell off the tree! It was almost like a waterfall, all shimmery and beautiful! When the needles stopped falling, we had a completely and totally naked Christmas Tree. Seriously, not a needle on it! All the needles were in a circle around the base of the tree while the three of us just stood there and stared.
Dad and I wanted to laugh, but one quick look at Mom stopped that urge instantly. Mom was not happy. She had always kept the tree outside for a few days when we lived in Chicago! Nothing like this had ever happened there!! They must get inferior trees in Florida! She was fuming! She went inside, grabbed her purse, and my father's car keys, and said, "Let's go!" We meekly followed her to the car, and headed back to the tree lot. She was going to complain about the inferior tree. When we arrived and walked into the lot, we saw bunches of nice green, healthy looking trees waiting to go home with some happy little family. It was right about then that Mom noticed that all the trees were sitting in big tubs of water. You could almost see the lightbulb go on above her head. She looked at us and sort of muttered, "Don't say anything. Just don't say anything at all!"
We picked out another tree, took it home, somewhere on the way home we began to laugh and we laughed and laughed, especially mom. We put it up that night. We put it into the tree stand we had used for years....the one that had a little reservoir that held a couple of cups of water....the one that mom had always tested every day and refilled the water every day....both in Chicago and in Florida.
In Chicago it was ok to let a tree stand outside in the snow for a couple of days of frigid weather. In Florida there was no snow and the temperature had been lingering in the 80s for days! But that perfect tree had no moisture to absorb to keep it fresh and green! (It's amazing how we all act from habit at times and don't always realize that the situation is different!)
There hasn't been a Christmas that went by without somebody bringing up the naked Christmas Tree. Mom always laughed the hardest.
I could be wrong, but I think she was one of the very first people to purchase an artificial tree.