Friday, December 3, 2010
When I was a child, we always had a live tree. Every year since us kids were born, at least one tree was planted per year, in every yard of every house my parents ever owned. It's not likely these days, but should we drive past an old house, we could still point at the old Christmas trees and say "look! There it is! Christmas tree 1981!" or whatever.
For all the years I lived on a small city lot (fifteen of them), I did not have a Christmas tree. I had used up all my available space planting fruit trees and I refused on principle to buy a cut tree. My daughter complained, but I didn't give in. Either we made a tree out of paper (kind of cool, actually - paint a big tree on butcher paper, put it up on the wall, and decorate with real ornaments and tinsel) or I made a gingerbread house instead. I'm not good at gingerbread houses.
This, for example, is not one of my gingerbread houses. This is an image downloaded off the web. I can, however, turn out a more or less respectable cube-shaped gingerbread house with a couple of stained glass windows and a roof paved with Necco wafers. A gingerbread house can sit on the mantel for a full month and still be edible come Christmas morning. More or less.
Once we moved out here, I insisted on a live tree. Partly, this was to relieve me of the strain of making a gingerbread house. Partly it was because everyone in my family likes trees and thinks gingerbread houses are stupid, unless they are the kind that could be featured on the Food Channel. Also, I think everyone should plant at least one tree a year and Christmas is as good a time as any. This property has a severe lack of trees and room for many, many Christmas trees before it begins to feel crowded.
It's that time of year again, and this year I am going to have a real tree AND make a gingerbread house, for the first time ever. Why? Well, I miss making gingerbread houses, actually. My younger children have never made one with me, and I think they would like it. Especially all the candy. My relatives in from Mexico have certainly never done the gingerbread thing. And Rowan might be old enough to find it nostalgic, though I kind of doubt it. I find it nostalgic, though, and I'm sure I will even when I'm tearing my hair out because the royal icing won't set up.
Wish me luck! We are going down to the Fairhaven Train Station today to see the gingerbread house competition - there are always about fifty houses of varying intricacy and competence. Some of stunning in their beauty and complexity - others are stunning in that whoever made them didn't throw them away but instead allowed them to be displayed publicly. It's a great way to spend an hour or two with the kids on a winter saturday.
Posted by Aimee at 5:32 PM