Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This is the Christmas tree that Greg and I put up the first year that we were married. We called it our Charlie Brown Tree.

So scrawny and pitiful. There were probably six ornaments on the tree, and apparently only one present. The bow on top was recycled from my wedding bouquet. Don't you love that disco ball ornament? (Yeah, we still have that one.) What a magical thing it was to see the reflection of the disco ball against those lovely cinder block walls.

And I especially love how we had to squeeze the tree in between the kitchen table and the living room love seat, so no one could sit at the table without the tree poking them in the back of the head.

We were seniors in college, going to school full time and working part time, and we were B-R-O-K-E. We had an "apartment", if you want to call it that, that was part of the school's married housing dorm. It was actually two dorm rooms connected by a bathroom with a stove thrown haphazardly into one of them. No countertops, no cabinets to store kitchen stuff. Our pots and pans and dishes were stored in crates stacked on the floor, and we had two of those little dorm-sized refrigerators. The rent was a whopping $250 a month, and we used to say it was worth every bit of it and not a penny more.

The apartment was situated right smack in the middle of the men's dormitories, with whom we shared a laundry room and a prolific population of cockroaches. I'll never EVER forget the time I went to get my laundry out of the dryer, and there was a dead cockroach that had been dried right along with my clothes. Of course, I got some more quarters and started them over, and from then on I never forgot to look inside the machine before I put in my clothes.

Such fond Christmas memories. Feel free to share your own poverty-or-cockroach-related ones. Or any other for that matter.


  1. As I look back - all our former trees that I thought were sad, make me smile...

  2. We have just a 4.5 foot tree right now, because our apartment is tiny (although, I'll admit, not as tiny as two dorm rooms connected by a bathroom!). But small as the tree is, it still looks pretty with the lights turned on, and it always captures the Little Mister's attention. :)

  3. I wish I had a scanner to scan the smallest tree ever from our first Christmas. But it was so sweet!!!
    This is a cute story of when I was a kid, though. My mom was a single working mom and we lived in an apartment at the time with woods near it. We were so broke. My youngest brother who was about 8 at the time took a steak knife and went and sawed down them most pitiful Charlie Brown tree for us to have for Christmas.

  4. We are kind of notorious for our ugly Christmas trees around here. Our first Christmas together Allie was a baby so I sent Shane and Brandon out to pick one. I don't know if it was just because we were poor or Shane was cheap (he hates buying a Christmas tree each year) or because they really had not taste, but that was just the worst Christmas tree I have ever seen. It was like a Christmas bush with like one big branch sticking out the top.

    That first Christmas Shane and I exchanged CDs, Allie got nothing, and we did manage to buy a couple things for Brandon who was fortunately 4 & easy to please.But I have fond memories of that year. And I learned that anything with lights on it, even a bush, is pretty.

  5. As far as I can remember, the first Christmas tree, which I helped to decorate was when I was 7 years was sooo messy...

    every possible colour you can think of was on that poor 1.5m tall tree...there was no sense of colour theme nor anything of that sort.

    as I grow in age, I realise that simplicity is the best..I kinda like yours *wink*

  6. looks like we were married the same year.

    when MQ was a toddler and we had tree climbing/limb eating kitties we went 2 years without a real tree... just too much work keeping so many being away from it! instead we bought a 2 foot fake one we put on teh island in the kitchen (could be seen from the living room) still... the cats chewed on it. sigh.

  7. My hubby and I had an apartment like that too. Our rent was $125 and we rented the upper of a house owned by a crazy old woman who saw aliens, alligators, and airplanes in her house all the time. Our walls would drip with moisture in winter, and the shower was really just a closet with a platform you stood on. The ceiling slanted in the shower so you couldn't stand up straight. It was nuts. But it was ours.
    We didn't have room for a Christmas tree so we put tinsel on our fern plant. Lovely.
    Thanks for the reminder of how far we've come. Great post and great pic. :)

  8. I remember the disco ball ornament! I still have mine too!


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