A Russey Family Christmas Tradition
Decorating the tree
It was the job of the Russey menfolk to find the “perfect” tree, cut it down, and deliver it to the Russey house. When in the house, the decorating could begin.
But first, we had to get it “in” the house. A wide tree has a difficult time fitting through house doors without leaving part of it behind. My memory may be a bit gray here, but as I recall the event, and it was an event, I would put my arms around my Dad’s waist and pull him through the door while he was pulling the bottom of the tree through the door.
Once through the door, it had to be uprighted. I can't recall how he did it, but Dad somehow got the tree to stand up and then we could start the decorating process which required the use of a tall ladder.
My mom, dad, brother, three sisters and I all got involved with the decorations. It must have been mass congestion in that room with all those people, boxes of decorations, and that massive tree.
Mom took over here. She assigned each of us a special job. Mine was the tinsel. Years later, though, Mom reminded me that some of the tinsel got clumped up on the limbs and she waited until I went to sleep to straighten them out. Mom suspected a loss of interest on my part if she spent too much time trying to correct my clumps. I am sure she was right. Pretending to be Paul Bunyan, while I helped Dad chop it down, was definitely more fun than working with the tinsel.
What I liked best, though, about our tree were the bubble lights. There were several strands of them. I know we had twinkle lights, but watching the bubbles was special to me.
I remember staying behind in the room after everyone else left. I would watch the bubbles travel up and down the tube and try to figure out how those bubbles did that. That was my Christmas mystery.
Unfortunately, my children did not have the opportunity to enjoy the bubbles. The world had moved on to other Christmas tree decorations by then.
Dad had one more job to perform on that day.
Mom reached into her special box and carefully unwrapped her favorite ornament. It was a lighted Angel passed down to her from her family. Dad climbed the ladder one last time, gathered up a few of the uppermost limbs, and gently stuffed them into the hole in her bottom. Mom was watching, so dad had to be careful. When I looked at the Angel, I knew she was looking to the heavens and perhaps was even guiding Santa Claus to my house.
Even at that young age, I was in awe or our tree. It was not one hundred feet tall, but it sure seemed that way to me. It soared and twinkled well above my small stature. Everyone pitched in and the tree was eventually deemed ready to celebrate the Christmas holiday.