In the early forties, often laid off, but ever searching for work, every Christmas my dad would take me and my three sisters to the least expensive tree lot and together we’d pick out our fifty cents or one dollar treasure. It would have rivaled Charlie Brown’s tree for least likely to impress, but we were thrilled, it was ours!

           Tired, old decorations were retrieved from the attic, along with strings of silver ‘icicles,’ carefully saved from year to year. We could hardly wait for Dad to finish stringing the lights so we could do our part. Red and green constriction paper strips, cut and pasted into a long chain had been prepared the night before, ready to encircle the tree from top to bottom.

          At last dad finished and the magic moment arrived. He pulled the switch and multicolored lights all came on…for a brief moment. Patiently we waited while Dad found the guilty bulb and the lights stayed on, until the next one fizzled. The aluminum star with battered blue trim went first, then the tarnished balls, many of which had lost much of their color. Assorted sparse ornaments were next, followed by our homemade decorations,

          Snow swirled outside our windows, but we couldn’t wait till dark when dad would again turn on the lights. We loved Christmas and were proud of our tree. One year only socks and new underwear were our gifts. It didn’t matter. We were loved and cared for. It was Christmas and we had a beautiful tree to prove it.