Sued51's Blog

{November 25, 2013}   My Own Version of a Charlie Brown Christmas

I have always loved Christmas decorations — their colors, their sparkle! It seemed like I could never have enough…until now. Whatever I have now, has to be enough. In my new small space I don’t have room for a big Christmas tree. This year my ornament collection of over twenty-five years, painstakingly unpacked, displayed, and repacked annually will stay packed away in storage. This year’s “late” Thanksgiving means this Christmas season is a short one, just 4 weeks (though the stores keep trying to make it seem longer) — definitely not worth digging through boxes in storage. Having anticipated this though, my 4-ft tabletop tree has been riding around in my car’s back seat for weeks. But what will I decorate it with? Surely I won’t be buying more ornaments? Imagination needs to be kicked into gear…But I do have something to draw on — a memory of a Christmas long ago…my Christmas in California.As someone born and bred in the Northeast, that was an oxymoron. Christmas is cold, and snow, and evergreens…

Tabletop Christmas Tree

Decorations to come…from my imagination…

That year my father had taken a temporary position in California. Near the end of his career as a marine draftsman, shipyards were closing and the need for ships was diminished, so he had to work where he could to support his family. I was in college, living in the house back home, while he, my mother, and younger brothers were living in an apartment in California. It was semester break and I was flying out to spend Christmas with them. I remember arriving at LAX two days before Christmas and seeing wreaths on the palm trees, thinking, “This is just wrong!” When we got back to their apartment, there was no Christmas tree! I was really disappointed and immediately complained. (I was young and ungrateful…after all, I should have just been happy to be with my family.) It could have been the start of a miserable holiday for everyone, but something wonderful happened. Always wanting to make me happy, my father said, “Let’s see what we can do…”

I followed him outside, not sure what he had in mind. Were we going out to buy one? Nope, he doesn’t have the car keys. Sticking out of the full dumpster outside was the top of a real Christmas tree; someone must have cut it off because the tree was too tall (or the ceiling too short). My dad pulled it out and said, “Here we go!”

I couldn’t help but smile, and I quickly jumped into the game. I pulled out some crushed soda cans…after all they were shiny and colorful! We got creative — using what we had and attaching things to the tree with bread ties my mother had stashed in a drawer. Our ornaments were stick-on bows, and gift tags, MacDonald’s toys, whatever we could find in the house…and we laughed and felt proud of our ingenuity. Charlie Brown had nothing on us!

I wish I had a picture of our “ugly” little tree to post here for you, but I don’t. I can only share a beautiful memory of a tree I will remember forever. A tree that helps me to remember to be grateful.

Christi says:

That’s a beautiful story!


sued51 says:

Thanks, Christi…it’s one of the reasons I loved (and miss) my father so much. I’m happy to have the memories of him that I have. 🙂


soonie2 says:

A great story Sue! Just goes to show that you don’t need to pull out all the bells and whistles to have a good Christmas…the simpler the better! And I still love “A Charlie Brown Christmas”!


sued51 says:

Charlie Brown Christmas is a classic!


What a beautiful story, full of sentiment… Awww, im smiling now.


sued51 says:

So glad, Chatty…I like it when you smile…:-)


Thanks sweets 🙂


cobbies69 says:

This is great,, Sue, my project is to be a continuous story, love story, hopefully climaxing on Xmas eve or day.. But of course am open to any one who wishes to donate… this story is ideal or similar. thank you … 😉


sued51 says:

I thought you were going to do a type of “challenge”…my mistake…but you are going to do a kind of “serial.” There are so many great “Christmas” love stories (“Love Actually” is a movie I like to watch each Christmas). Maybe yours is the next great Christmas love story! 🙂


[…] (Read about my “found” Christmas Tree here.) But I have a birthday in December, and a thoughtful friend gave me some ornaments. So this is my Christmas Tree this year…festive enough! […]


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