Christmas is upon us! For the Crawford Ranch, Christmas is a time of joyous celebrations with family, filled with lots of food and rejoicing.
I’m sure we all can recall happy Christmas memories and traditions from our childhood that still conjure up a smile.
A tradition my family had for many, many years was a big cedar tree for our Christmas tree. Like many places in the Ozarks, cedar trees were never in a short supply in Dallas County, Mo., so we had plenty to choose from. My dad also provided several Christmas trees for elementary classrooms over the years; well, every year I volunteered him to cut one for my classroom at least.
We had one corner of the living room where we would put the tree. The tree was always very round and full, and reached the ceiling. We didn’t have a tree stand for our cedar tree, but we did have old medal coffee cans around that served the purpose. We would pack the cans with dirt and rocks to keep the tree straight. It would still require my brothers or I to climb under the tree once we got it in the house to add some rocks to the can in an attempted level it up, of course that was after it was turned and moved a few times until we found the “best side.” I can still remember the aroma of the tree moving through the house.
We would fill the tree with lights and the hand-made ornaments my brothers and I made, even if they were just pieces of colored paper with a piece of yard strung through a hole. Sometimes there would be strings of popcorn or, if we were really lucky, there would be a birds nest in the tree. Mom would have to decorate some of the taller parts of the tree when we were little, but most of the decorating was left to us kids.
I think she cringed when the boxes of those stringy tinsel icicles would come out. There would be globs of it here and there on the tree, on the floor, in the kitchen, down the hall and everywhere else before we were done. She would tell us that the tinsel was the very last thing you put on the tree. Many times Mom would say, “I really don’t think (the tree) needs any icicles this year,” but you could NEVER have too many decorations or too many icicles on the tree!
One year she told me that they quit making the stringy tinsel; good thing I had enough stashed back so we could have it for a couple of more years. I found it after that, but Mom said she just kept forgetting pick more up… darn the luck.
When Christmas was over, it was time to take the old cedar tree back outside. It was kind of sad to take all of the decorations off of it and pack them away for another year. Luckily the tinsel icicles would continue to stick around and pop up from time to time well into the New Year.
I remember asking Mom once why stores sold trees during Christmas; as a child it was beyond my comprehension why someone would not have a big cedar tree in their house for Christmas. Mom explained that not everyone had land where they could cut their own tree. She just said that was just one more reason why country kids were luckier than those who lived in town.
Today, Bill and I put up an artificial tree. It might not be the cedar that we both grew up with, but we are still lucky, and blessed, to live where we do and to have the loving family we will join this holiday season for celebrations.
This Christmas, remember to count your blessings and the reason for the season.
By the way, Bill won’t let me put any stringy icicles on the tree either.



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