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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

TITLE: Genuine or Fake
By Connie Dixon


Does anyone remember when Christmas trees grew in the forest and eventually filled our homes with the fragrant aroma of ponderosa pine? There was no need for Glade plug-ins or cinnamon candles to tickle our senses back then. Those were the days. Of course I can’t fault anyone for wanting to display a purple metallic icon that spins like a top and plays “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer” every time the motion sensor is activated. Who wouldn’t want that precious reminder of the true meaning of Christmas?

Dad always found just the right tree and delivered it on his return home from one of many hunting trips. Often it was the only game he bagged in a season. Honestly, it wouldn’t have crossed his mind to go down to a tree lot and buy a cut tree. Are you kidding? Who knows how long those trees had been sitting there? The pine needles might start falling off any minute and by the time Christmas arrived…well, you know what I’m talking about. We always had a fresh-cut tree, and my dad, the self-proclaimed Great White Hunter, always picked it out and manhandled it with an axe. We couldn’t wait for him to get it in a stand so we could start covering it with those hazardous worn-out lights and old-fashioned hand-made decorations.

When Dad brought that tree home, the Christmas Season began. There were homemade pies, baked goodies, Christmas carols, stacks of cards, filled stockings and yes………presents. Let’s don’t forget all of those multi-colored gifts, wrapped in love and packed tight under sprawling branches - placed strategically so no one would know the recipient until that special moment……except once. One year, my sister and I took it upon ourselves to unwrap all of our packages ahead of time, just to satisfy our ‘inquiring minds.’ We didn’t get caught, but it took so much fun out of opening presents on that special day that we never repeated the offense. Besides, there is no pleasure at all in opening gifts when you have to be cautious about not ripping off the paper.

Dad’s gone now and besides, you have to have a permit to go cut a tree. You also have to drive about a hundred miles from our home to get to a place where evergreens actually grow. To get a permit, pay for gas and take a whole day out of a busy schedule to acquire a real tree seems like so much effort. Why go to all that trouble? A few years ago I bought and decorated a fake tree and I enjoyed it so much, I left it up all year. Again, it kind of took the fun and anticipation out of the following season when the tree was already in place. Fake trees, gift cards, credit or debit, 24-hour shopping, skinny mall Santas arriving just after Halloween, after-Christmas sales beginning on Christmas Day, nativity scenes outlawed, Christmas music banished from public schools………Is it just me or is a traditional Christmas a thing of the past? We always try to re-create the ‘wonder’ of what it was like when we were children - beginning with the tree. The reality is that the wonder has no more ‘awe’ in it than the authenticity of my imitation Serbian Spruce.

Can we just leave the past where it belongs, for that little stroll down memory lane and get back to the fundamentals of here and now? Our historical nostalgic recollections may never again include the longing of a ‘Norman Rockwell’ moment or that ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Christmas that we only dreamed of. I’m not sure it really needs to be that. What I do know is that the tree is reminiscent of a season begun and since Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, it is a good reminder for us to recall what God did for us by sending His Son. So whether you have a living tree or a fake tree is of no consequence. What is important is whether or not you know Christ. If you have a genuine relationship with Him, there will be nothing ‘fake’ about your holiday.

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Joy Bach 10/17/08
Sounds like a wonderful time growing up. But you summed it all up at the end...the relationship is what matters. Very enjoyable reading.
Norma-Anne Hough10/19/08
I loved this piece as it reminded me so of when i was growing up.My dad also went out into the bush, but we all tagged along as that was part of it. Our home also had that wonderful smell.
You have brought back beautiful memories. Well done.
Bella Rossiter01/22/09
Oh my, you are a really good writer, Connie. And you capture a moment in time brilliantly and comparisons are relevant. Blessings!