Sometime after working at the studio for a few years, I was putting up the Christmas decorations and placed a tiny silver tree on the table. I’d seen it before, but for some reason, that year it struck me as about the cutest thing ever, and I decided I needed a silver Christmas tree of my own, desperately.
It was the early 90’s, and I found that silver trees were no longer available because of the electrical shock hazard they presented, being made of aluminum and all. Was told by a guy at Sears when I checked if they had any, that they’d been banned by the FDA or someone, though not sure that was entirely true. It was before anyone realized how amazingly cool they actually are, and there was not a tree to be found anywhere. Reproduction or otherwise.
Being pre-internet, pre-Craigslist or Ebay, I did what anyone would have done, I placed an ad in the paper. Really, I did. It cost me like $35., I wish I’d kept a copy of it, I keep pretty much everything, but I’ve never come across it, so I’m assuming I didn’t. It said that I was looking for a silver tree, and to call me. I got one response.
A older woman in Falmouth had a 5 foot silver tree her husband had bought her in 1967 in case anything happened to him, so she didn’t have to worry about putting up a tree, which was lucky as that was his last Christmas. Turns out she had just inherited her sister’s 4 foot tree which would be easier for her to put up. She said as I obviously really wanted it, putting an ad in the paper and all, I could have it.
Off I went to Falmouth, and found a fabulous tree in it’s original box. The woman told me I had to package it in it’s original box every year, putting every branch in it’s individual sleeve, or she’d take it back. Now I’m not sure if you know, but the boughs of silver trees are each packed in a paper sleeve to keep the pom-pom on the end, well pom-pom-y. You kind of slide them in backwards to keep the foil from getting flat, keeping it fluffy. I assured her I would. She told me how she’d given the tree to her son the year before, but found it after Christmas just in the box, not individually sleeved, and she took it back. She told him he couldn’t have it if he wasn’t going to take care of it! She was one tough cookie. She loved that tree.
I love her tree. My tree. It was our family tree for a few years, but my husband loves it less than me, and one year even tried not putting the branches in their sleeves so it might get taken away from us, though it didn’t work, and I then dutifully sleeved them all up. We even made new sleeves when the original ones got damaged. Year after year, we put those branches in their sleeves, having a little giggle every single year…
It now is my studio tree, and every year, I put out the little mini one on the table out front, and my beautiful full size one in the window. Often it stays undecorated, it loses so many bits of aluminum every year, I am ever so gentle with it. I want it to last forever.
Full disclosure, we learned a few years ago, if we just picked the whole darn thing up and put it on a table upstairs, it was out of the way and didn’t take hours to pack and unpack, all the while the pom-poms stay nice and pom-pom-y, with minimal aluminum loss, so we don’t exactly package it up each year any more.
Every year, I think of that woman who shared her gift with me, and I think of how much I still truly love my tree, and how sometimes things just work out in such amazing ways. And if I ever do put it away again, I will put each branch carefully in it’s own sleeve.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Enjoy the beautiful holiday season however you celebrate.