I spotted it last year just before Christmas—the replica of the vintage red truck hauling the family Christmas tree—and I fell in love with it on the spot. Then on an early December trip to Montana to visit my granddaughter, I started my collection with a red truck cookie jar, a tray, and salt & pepper shakers. Not only was the red truck just too cute for words, but something about it made me happy. Then this year, I had to add to my collection with a lighted picture, a door decoration, door mat, and throw pillows. As I tossed the pillows on my couch, I asked myself, what is the pull of the red truck? Sure it’s cute and the newest thing on the market; but clerks are telling me it is so popular they can’t keep it stocked. They even have it in tableware.
As I pondered its popularity, I couldn’t help but know that for me, seeing that red truck takes me back to an earlier time when the pace for Christmas was slower. The harvest was in, you’d just had Thanksgiving, and now it was time to think about Christmas. People would take the old pickup (although not always red) and drive out through the fields to the woods to select their Christmas tree.
When the tree was up, simple decorations were added. In my grandparents’ early days, there weren’t always electric lights, but there were always cotton balls and homemade ornaments. Later, that was changed to angel hair and store bought ornaments along with lights. I have to laugh as I remember my paternal Grandpa Colsher always got the angel hair stuck on his black wool sweater. No matter how careful he was, he couldn’t escape it. Then came the years of silver icicles, which were not fun to put on, personally, I’m glad those didn’t hang around. But I do have to laugh thinking about how we’d pick those up, only to turn around and find more of them on the floor or furniture.
Christmas meant family would be returning home. Gifts didn’t have to be big and expensive, mostly they were homemade. Giving a gift was something you thought about for weeks and created just for that person, or something you saved your pennies for to buy for a special someone. You didn’t have to have twenty gifts, you were thankful for one.
I remember my Sunday School teacher gave all the 7th grade girls in her class their first compact with a mirror. Then another year, it was a bottle of Jergens hand lotion. My, I thought I’d received the most important gift around.
Once, when I was seven or eight years old, someone had given me some coins. So I decided that I would go shopping for my parents’ Christmas gift. I went to Reidenbach’s Jewelry Store in downtown Westport where I bought them little cups and saucers. In my child-size eyes, I thought they would actually drink their coffee from them. Instead, they were nick-nacks, perfect for displaying on a little shelf.
Oh. The. Memories. When I see that little red truck with the Christmas tree, I jump aboard and go riding along on nostalgia road. I travel to my grandparents’ farm, and my parents’ house, and all those Christmases of by-gone years.
Come on and join me. Jump aboard; you’ll be glad you did.