I have had a real Christmas tree my whole life until a few years ago when Dad, bought a small, fake tree from Michael's with the help of Gramma. Not my choice or wish, but for the years when we are not with you guys, it will do.
My fondest memories of the Christmas tree take me back to when I was a teenager living in Gardena, California. We had several Jewish families as neighbors. The most fun when we were decorating the tree was to to invite Bruce, Ricky and Cindy over to help us. We would all have fun putting the ornaments on our tree. I don't remember singing or music or any special things we did as we decorated, but just the fun of sharing our traditions with others.
(Then, during Hannukah, which always falls around Christmas, we would play Dreidel with them at their house and be invited over to witness the ceremony each evening of lighting the candles on the Menorrah.)
Before decorating the tree, Dad would take my brother and me to a local lot (sometimes the Boy Scout lot as Dad was active in Boy Scouts for many years) to buy our tree. We never ventured far but picking out the tree was important, so we did spend a good amount of time finding the right tree
Dad would tie the tree to the top of the car and as soon as we got home, he would place it in a bucket of water.
Within a few days, Dad would get started on the tree. No matter what we had chosen, Dad was sure to make it even better. He would trim branches from the bottom of the tree so there would be room for the presents but often, if branches were not spaced right, Dad would actually drill a hole in the trunk and add limbs to fill out the bare spots. Our tree was always a "custom" tree thanks to Dad.
Mom had made a beautiful tree skirt (can't remember what it looked like, but I remember Mom making one). That would go around the bottom of the tree. Then as Christmas drew close, we would begin to pile presents under the tree.
Dad always took lots of pictures of us around the tree but sadly, none of those pictures have survived.
But our memories do, thank goodness.