Dr. Bill Atwood

A Christmas Tree Tradition

Now that most of the turkey leftovers are gone and we look to the festivities of the upcoming holiday season, we set our sights on decorating our homes for the season.

The custom of having a Christmas tree in one’s home dates back to a tradition begun in Germany where Christmas is referred to as Tannenbaum or Christbaum. There was a tree placed, by devout Christians, in St. George’s Church in Selestat in 1521, and the popularity of trees celebrating Christmas grew during the 19th century.

Trees were decorated with fruit and candies and lighted candles.

Most families have traditions that they repeat each year when decorating for the holidays. Mangers scenes appear, Santa’s picture is placed in a special spot, countdown calendars or clocks are set up, fudge is made, stockings are hung by the chimney, with care, Toy’s for Tot’s gifts are placed in the bins, and the family selects a tree.

Some families go for the artificial tree but mine prefers the real thing. Every year since 1981 I have trekked over to North Fork to select my tree from the Boy Scouts who have been selling trees since long before I moved here. The trees are freshly cut in the local forest and are made available to us at a very low price; $2.75 per foot and they give you the first foot free. When you pay and want to tip, it puts the scouts in a dilemma because part of their program doesn’t allow for getting a tip for a good turn. However; I have found a loop-hole. I just make an additional “donation” to the program. The boys turn in all such donations to their troop so it isn’t really a tip.

It is quite fun to know that on the first Saturday of each December the Scouts and their leaders are ready to help you select that perfect tree for your home. Some of us like tall trees and others prefer shorter ones. The different types of trees are important to folks so the scouts have a various species of trees available.

The magic of your tree in the home begins when you get it into the house but the magic also continues in North Fork. Your donation helps the scouts fund their troop and their summer camp adventures. I think it really is encompassed in the word trees. The Really Exciting Experience - Scouting.

Scouting helps boys and girls become better citizens and when they become adults they bring those skills learned in scouting with them. They learn to “Be Prepared.” They learn to live by the rules. They learn to help other people at all times. They learn to live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law. They learn to be leaders.

When you are dealing with that young scout you are dealing with a future leader of our community, county, state or nation. Some will become business leaders, others will serve in the military, and others will become emergency personnel, while others will fill in as volunteers and coaches.

If you were to wander through the county jails you will find few if any of those locked up will have ever had the opportunity to be in a scout troop. If you chat with the leaders in the community most had a scouting experience. So using trees as a means to supporting a great program such as scouting makes perfect sense.

This Saturday at 9 a.m. in North Fork you and I will be able to look a future leader in the face, buy a tree, and share the Christmas magic in our homes while sharing with the North Fork Scouts the wonders of a program that will build them into being better kids and better adults.

The Really Exciting Experience— Scouting.