Long before the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree was introduced to the world of television in 1965, my uncles had the yearly task of creating the perfect Christmas tree. I don't know for sure, but I think they were in direct competition with each other. It was a long drawn-out procedure that involved saws, drills and extra tree limbs.
If you are picturing a bunch of grown men drilling holes in the trunk of an evergreen tree, you're headed in the right direction. They filled in the "holes" in the tree by inserting additional tree limbs in the holes in the trunk. The result was a beautiful, full, live -- but somewhat "artificial" Christmas tree. The ornaments didn't "hang" on the tree. Instead, they sort of laid on the tree.
The whole process took a couple of nights to complete. It was slow, tedious, and especially annoying for me and my cousins who were waiting to decorate the trees. And, I might add -- not patiently.
This contest ended with the advent of the aluminum artificial tree. My aunts had a lot to do with that. They weren't too thrilled with the annual tree contest either. Now the tree was stored in a box in the attic. It was silver and came with a light wheel that made the tree change colors throughout the evening. It didn't really look like a Christmas tree but it could be up and running within an hour. By this time the uncles were enjoying television and they were more than willing to put an end to the contest.
Years later, when my kids were little, I decided to go in the opposite direction and we went to the tree lot to look for a tall, skinny, ugly Christmas tree. Like a Charlie Brown Tree. The owner of the lot was really glad to see me and he disappeared to the back of the lot and returned with my "perfect" tree. Everyone thought I was nuts until the tree was decorated. It turned out to be beautiful. The ornaments "hung" on the tree for once and you could see the beauty of each and every one.
After my late husband and I were married, I dragged him to the tree lot and embarrassed him by requesting my tall, skinny, ugly tree. He had a fit, to put it mildly, and my kids thought it was funny. Of course, he changed his mind after the tree was decorated and he became a fan too.
Now I still have the same kind of tree 40 years later, only it is my grandkids who think grandma's off her rocker. Of course the tree is artificial now and lives in the spare bedroom from February to November.
Christmas trees have come a long way since the 1940's. We still have the real ones but I don't know anyone who "creates" the perfect tree with a drill and spare branches any more. Most people my age have artificial trees and they stand in a basement, garage, or spare room when not decorated. We leave the real tree hassle to the younger generation and we reminisce about the "old days".