Celebrating Christmas with my daughter and her godmother, Millie Wilcox

As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I began playing Christmas songs and singing along with the familiar ones. Listening to Aretha Franklin’s version of “O Christmas Tree” set me to thinking of the festive trees we put up in our homes each year and what history lay behind this tradition. It is generally accepted that it was the Germans who first began bringing trees into their homes and tucking candy and other sweets into its branches for the children. Martin Luther is said to have first placed candles on the branches. Although this tradition spread over much of Europe, it was slow in being accepted in America as many felt it was a pagan practice. During the 1800’s, however, many homes began adopting the practice, especially after a photo of a decorated Christmas tree appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Before auto transportation, many coastal Georgians used the Eastern Red Cedar as their Christmas tree. They are native to our area and are very fragrant, with greenish-blue berries. In more recent years, farmers have brought truckloads of fir and spruce pine from mountainous regions where the climate is ideal for growing them. You can find them for sale at several pop-up markets in the Golden Isles. If you want a local tree, there are a couple of tree farms in this area.

I have fond memories of the many Christmases my family spent in the mountains of North Carolina. One of the highlights of our stay each year was to go to Solomon Horney’s tree farm and select our own “perfect” tree. He would drive us around in a tractor-pulled wagon and then give us cookies and hot chocolate to warm us up.

This Christmas, I am thrilled to be able to travel to New Zealand to spend Christmas with my son who is currently living there. So for my Christmas tree this year i chose a potted Norfolk Pine, which origins from that area. The tree is a bit wonky, like a Charlie Brown tree, but easy and fun.

Wherever you are this Christmas, I hope your heart and home will be filled with warmth and abundance.

Catherine McCrary

Traditions and Family Time
+It was a treat to spend some quality time with my daughter and Millie this past weekend. We made Chocolate Rum Balls, which is an annual Christmas tradition and we had our picture made with Santa at the Cloister!
+ The full Cold moon will rise on December 27 at 6:04 pm .

The Old Farmer’s Almanac tells us Christmas cacti can live for 20- 30 years when properly cared for. I have had this one for about 6 years, but it hasn’t bloomed in several years. It surprised me with blooms on Thanksgiving Day and is still blooming. You can force a Christmas cactus to bloom by placing it in cool night temperatures.

Poem “Trees”
by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


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