My little Christmas tree!

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By Chef Ed Dychauco

Pots and Pans

Friday, December 27, 2013

CHRISTMAS trees started so long ago somewhere in Europe, specifically in Germany and Latvia, where the first decorated Christmas tree was first known in 1510, and gained popularity throughout the world later.

It is also said that the Germans brought and introduced this to the USA in the 1800’s.

The most popular “real” trees are the US Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and Blue Spruce which can cost between $80.00 and up depending on the size and quality.

In the Philippines, I grew up with those “Baguio” Pine trees and it does not necessarily have to be a perfect cone shape as long as it is fresh.

The scent of the tree is so refreshing and heart-warming that it becomes the center of attraction during the entire Christmas season, which can last for five to six months, the longest Christmas season being celebrated all over the world!

As a child, I always look forward to the yuletide season and I am sure almost everyone shares the same feeling.

It is just a joyous and happy occasion to look forward to at the end of every year.

Putting up the tree was quite a job, especially if one uses the real tree.

But that was before, because nowadays, one can find commercially available stands that serve as a water basin, so as to keep the tree fresh and long lasting.

Now, what kind of Christmas trees have I seen in my life?

There are just so many that come in an array of sizes, shapes and make up.

There are the real trees, some even uses potted trees so as not to destroy it and can be planted outside after the season.

Some use tree twigs that are dried and painted white.

These are normally trimmed to achieve the cone-shaped tree.

I have seen using disposable or recyclable materials in the making of the tree like plastic bags, bond papers, ribbons, bottles, cans, and almost anything one can think of. That is how innovative we are!

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a tree.

Instead, it looks like a tree, just covered with real or artificial poinsettias, balls, bells, toys, ribbons, candy canes, Santa Claus, edible candies, cookies or even chocolates all over.

I guess one can definitely get a lot of ideas from books, magazines and even show windows back then.

But now, with the advent of the World Wide Web, it is just within reach anywhere and anytime for those crafty and beautiful ideas and styles.

Now, I am sure in one way or the other, one should have seen an inverted Christmas tree, right?

They have done that in department stores, but I don’t think I am for that “design” or look!

Depending on your mood or your hobby or interest, an ordinary looking tree can be decorated in anyway one wants it to look like.

The color scheme, the motif, the design can be of one particular item or theme. Or a mix and match of everything. As you please.

If one is a singer, it can be decorated with musical notes, a toy maker with assorted toys, or if one is particularly fun of purple color, then it can be a purple-themed tree and so on.

I grew up with real Pine trees for our Christmas trees.

And that gives a lot of lasting memories in all aspects.

Since we have a small house, it was always about 4-5 feet high, which was easier to decorate.

Then, came a time when we were given a “silver” tree that glitters. It was awesome!

But it was very small, only about three feet, more or less.

We have to put it on top of a table to make it look taller!

But it did not last long.

Maybe about four to five years later, we have to throw it away because it does not look good anymore.

We were back to our real Pine tree! Yes! And it was so nice to have them back.

The decorations and the lights were the same year after year, although we get to buy a few ones every year because they were very fragile and break easily.

Plastic decorations were unheard of before.

The lights were heavy because the wires were thick.

It was safer then I would say. And we will put cotton to simulate “snow.” How exciting!

Eventually, the plastic Christmas trees came into fad.

It was actually more economical because after the season, we wash and keep them for the following year.

The decorations became cheaper because they were made of light and plastic materials which can be used and stored for years and years.

The Christmas light was another story.

Somehow, they were not as sturdy and durable compared to the old ones we have.

They are quite delicate and could stop lighting or blinking when they hit the floors or not taken care of properly.

We ended up buying lights almost every other year!

The top was always a star, a shining star. And later on, it became an angel.

Christmas trees (not a Holiday tree or a Yuletide tree as some would call it!) comes in a variety of sizes and shapes.

It can be a foot high to as high as the one everyone sees at the Rockefeller Center in New York City (more than 23 meters high).

Actually, I am sure there are more natural trees that are much taller than the one I mentioned, but with the man-made “Christmas” trees, it can be two to three stories high or even more!

Just go around the parks of most cities and towns and it would be an amazing sight to behold!

And with thousands of Christmas lights, it makes the trees more dazzling and stunning, more especially at night.

What about yours? Anything in particular you like and love? What is your theme this year?

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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 27, 2013.


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