The First Christmas Tree


Barry and I are visiting Barry’s 97-year-old mother Rosalani (Lani for short) for a few months. She is a charming, educated woman who was a gifted writer in her younger years. I brought my little Christmas tree from our home for Lani to enjoy. She liked it except for the blinking tree lights. “The tree is working too hard,” she said. “All that blinking on and blinking off. Every time it blinks off and on, I blink off and on with it.”

So I bought different lights, red and white ones that don’t blink. She loves the little tree. I turn on the lights every morning before she wakes up, and it puts her in a good mood, she says, and chases the bad dreams she sometimes dreams away.

A few days ago, as I sat and talked with Lani, she suggested I write a story titled The First Christmas Tree because she’d had a dream that my beautiful little tree, which wanted to be famous, got famous after I wrote a story about it. So I wrote the story. This one’s for you, Lani.

The First Christmas Tree

(Title by Lani)

Once upon a time, there was a little pine tree whose needles all fell off because of a bad bark disease. All the other little pine trees laughed and waved their healthy green needles at the tree and said, “Na, na, na, na, na, we’re prettier than you, you skinny little, six-o’clock-on-the-dot tree.”

The little tree felt so bad, her branches drooped and she dripped tree sap on the ground. A group of school children and their teacher were walking through the forest, collecting bright berries and flowers for an art project, when they spotted the little tree and felt sad for the droopy little thing. “Let’s do something to spruce up the skinny little, limp thing,” the teacher said.  “Oh, yes,” the children said in unison. “Lets!”

So the children gathered around the tree and started gluing blue and red berries, green and white flowers, colorful leaves, everywhere needles used to be. Before too long, the little tree was bright and shiny and colorful and happy. The tree stood up tall and proud and smiled at the other little trees, who had all turned completely green with envy at the sight of the decorated tree.

“That’s okay, guys and gals,” the little tree yelled. “I forgive you.”

The other little trees hung their heads, ashamed. Then they whispered, “We’re sorry we were so mean.”

At these words, a little angel landed on the top branch of the bright little tree, and the tree started glowing all over. “This is the day when our Lord was born,” sang the angel. “I christen you the first Christmas tree. Let your little lights shine.”

And so it was in the beginning, and the tradition has continued to this day. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!