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A Charlie Brown Tree

December 19th, 2014 by Lila Steinhoff

I Have a Christmas Story

Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree

For the last 8 or 9 years, our tree has been a Norfolk pine in a pot on my pool deck. Another year’s growth made it too big to carry inside, so I was stalling with decorating, until last Saturday.

I attended a supper that had a white elephant swap for Christmas. My gift was an artificial, 4-foot tall, pre-lighted tree in a pot… stuffed into the original box which was taped up with several layers of packing tape to keep it all together… enough tape to prove that it must have been used for several years.

Well, I didn’t have one!

Artificial Tree

Tonight, grandson Malcolm was tasked with taking it out of the box and unbending the limbs into a tree-shape suitable for Christmas. He did his best, but it still looked scrawny. That’s okay, because we decided it was a Charlie Brown tree.

We set it in the usual Christmas tree space in the living room and plugged it in. The lights came on first time… on the bottom half of the tree. The wires had been cut and tied together at some point, so there would be no warm glow from the top half of the tree. That’s okay. It’s a Charlie Brown tree.

Makeshift Ornaments

Since we did not bring in the big tree from previous years, I did not bring the boxes of ornaments down from the attic. Instead, I used what I found in different drawers and the grandkids’ toy box.

Wreath and Ribbon


Toy Backhoe


Toy Firetruck


Clip-on Poinsettia

I found a single wreath ornament that missed being boxed last year, a piece of red ribbon in the wrapping paper drawer, a bag of stick-on bows left from last year, several small toy trucks and a clip-on silver poinsettia… all of which are now residing on the tree.


The pièce de résistance was ‘Chester the Tall Goat’ (actually, a giraffe) that Malcolm got from his teacher today. He will be leaving when Malcolm goes home tomorrow, but that’s okay. It’s a Charlie Brown tree.

Not Bad!

Opening Gifts

Since Malcolm will not be in town for Christmas, we celebrated his Christmas tonight. We considered it a dry run for the big day. It worked beautifully!

Charlie Brown Tree

I think this is the best  ‘Charlie Brown’ tree we’ve ever had.

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  • A woodworker who has a show on PBS suggests that anything you make should have a story to go along with it. “Grand Pa Willie used to climb the tree this bench is made from. He fell from that tree and that’s why he always limped a little.” This woodworker also suggested that if the item didn’t have a story, make one up. It makes the item more valuable to others. So, the story about your Charlie Brown Tree more than makes up for any aesthetic deficiencies.