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We've had real trees since 1959. For at least the first ten years, the trees cost $1 or $2, and they were skimpy and crooked - what I call Charlie Brown trees. Now all the trees you can buy here have been clipped, pruned, and shorn till they no longer look real to me, and they're so thick that there's no room for ornaments to hang properly. DS bought mine and stood it up for the grandkids to decorate, and I was SHOCKED to learn that it cost him $60 (this is Long Island). What's the world coming to?

Except for the lights, my kids and I (and now the grandkids) made all the decorations. We cut toilet paper cardboard rolls into one inch rounds, covered them with felt, and glued on sequins, beads, buttons and fringe. We took some of the white little crocheted rounds my grandmother turned out by the thousands, stiffened them into "snowflakes" by soaking them in strong sugar-water syrup and laying them out to dry. We made some hollow ornaments which we made from parts of cardboard egg cartons, which we glued together and sprayed gold. I made small felt birds which I stuffed with cotton balls, with embroidered wings and eyes. We made many yards of colored paper chains. I made all the balls, the main ornaments: I wrapped tiny balloons in narrow ribbon that would stick to itself when wet (why is that no longer available?), ran the wrapped balloons under the faucet, hung 'em to dry, and the next day popped the balloons and pulled them out of the hardened ribbon balls. Most have somehow lasted 40 or 50 years. Long ago we also used to string cranberries and popcorn, but when the kids grew up, I grew tired of doing that all my myself. One year I took an adult ed course in stained glass, and made an eight pointed red and blue star for the top of the tree.

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