A White Pine Christmas

white pine christmas

At the center of my childhood Christmas memories stands a White Pine. Granny loves Christmas-the decorating, the cooking, the merry making. Growing up, her excitement made Christmas truly special-even though there was never much money.

I was a teenager before I realized you could buy a Christmas tree specially grown and cut. I figured everyone went out in the woods and cut one like we did. Neither did I realize the White Pine is at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to Christmas trees.

Most Christmases Granny used a White Pine for a tree. Looking back I can see why-easy to get- just walk through the back yard, inexpensive-as in FREE, fragrant, and pretty in an old fashioned way. The picture above was Steve’s first Christmas. Pap was so young and handsome.

Steve is 5 years older than I am-this was during those years of being the one and only- before I came along to share the spot light. I’ve always loved this picture from his curling hair to his intent studying-makes me wonder what he’s thinking. Maybe dreaming of a ball and bat, maybe a hot-rod car. (the tree in this pic looks more like a bush than a white pine-maybe that’s all Granny could find that year)

tipper and steve at christmas

This White Pine Christmas I was there to crowd in on Steve’s light. Although, I don’t think he minded-he looks pretty happy. I still have the little rocking chair.

christmas tipper and steve

This was the last Christmas we spent in the little house we called Sherlocks. Paul was a toddler and soon after this picture we moved into the house Granny and Pap still live in today-Pap built it for $8,000.00.

paul at christmas

This was our first Christmas in the new house-you can see bigger house = bigger White Pine. Paul is sitting in my little chair holding Diggety Dog. Granny made his little plaid suit-and he was styling with his striped socks.

christmas in the new house

Me and Steve from the same Christmas-Ganny made my dress and even a little purse to match. I like Granny’s tree container-a five gallon bucket she decorated.

tipper and paul at christmas

Me and Paul-I’m guessing I was about 10 and Paul was 6.

This is the Christmas Granny’s White Pine tradition was broken. Someone gave her an artificial tree- Granny used it for years until it rusted and fell apart. By then we were grown and she bought a small table top artificial tree. As I look back over my Christmas past, I realize the old fashioned Christmas Granny made each year was true joy to my world.

When The Deer Hunter and I were first married we bought a real tree each year-but I like to decorate as early as Thanksgiving day which makes for a dry brittle tree by Christmas-so we use an artificial tree. I miss having a real tree-and after dwelling on Granny’s White Pine Christmases-next year I may take a walk through the backyard.

Hope you’ll leave me a comment about what kind of tree you use or a special tree memory you have.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    December 20, 2008 at 9:21 am


  • Reply
    December 17, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Those are all such wonderful Chrismtmas memory pictures. So many of them could be interchanged with my own from my childhood. Your little brother, Paul, even looks so much like my little brother, Todd, did! We too always cut our own tree and it was usually a pine as well. When I moved away from home and bought my first tree at a Christmas tree stand, I was a little annoyed that the tree’s were all so full. My ornaments wouldn’t hang on it very well, they pretty much just sat on the brances below the one I was trying to hang them on. LOL!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing these pictures. I hadn’t seen them in ages. They brought back a lot of memories for me; although the white pines in the first few made me a little sad. Believe it or not, I couldn’t find Jackie’s site/blog by searching, and your blog won’t fully open on my computer so that I can click on the link. Could you email me the URL? Thanks : )

  • Reply
    TennZen (Leia)
    December 16, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    We used to always go out into the woods or the edge of Sugar’s field and cut down a cedar tree. They were a lot fuller than pine trees, but they didn’t have very strong branches, so that meant that most of our decorations were paper or very light glass or tinsel.
    The family bought Sweet Pea and Sugar an artificial tree one year and that’s what they used from then on. It was a lot less messy but it still wasn’t the same as a good ol’ cedar tree.
    At my house we use a fake tree because it’s less of a fire hazard, less messy, and we’d just rather not cut down a tree that a bird, squirrel, or some other critter could use as a home. And pine trees are rather scarce anyway, because of the pine beetle infestation we’ve had in these parts as of late.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    December 15, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Tipper: I used to cut all of our trees but now we only use artifiial unless my wife wants a flocked one. Spray the foam on the tree and it looks white.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Wonderful Tipper! ALWAYS good! Thanks!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Hey Tipper,
    Been awhile since I posted it but been visiting.. we have had much going on, but just had to tell you that I love real trees I think it is a wonderful family tradition. My momma & dad used to always get a real one then about 4 years ago they too got an artificial tree, but my hubby says no way.. this is our family tradition and the kids love going to a farm to pick out there tree!! Praying you all have a blesed Christmas!!

  • Reply
    The Texican
    December 15, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Great Christmas memories. I’ll have to post some Christmas tree stories from childhood. Pappy

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    December 14, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Loved the Christmas pictures Tipper! I always liked tinsel icicles on my tree too.
    I had a real tree for many years. My sisters would take me outside town to a Christmas tree lot to find the best ones. We always went to a place that we called ‘Arctic Corner.’ We named it that because every time we would go to purchase my tree it would be freezing there.
    Then the sisters bought me a fake tree as we got older and it was harder for them to help me get a real one. The fake one still looks real to me and I purchase a bag of shredded balsam fir just to get that Christmas tree smell in the house. I miss the real deal though. I should have kept my tree stand though as you never know. That stand would have been 30 years old this Christmas. Thanks for bringing back such sweet memories. xxoo

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    December 14, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Tipper, this post is lovely and brings back so many memories of my childhood. My brother took my little sister and me out into the woods on the farm where he had already selected the perfect long leaf pine or cedar. We never cut the tree until about a week before Christmas and then we decorated it with the tinsel, being careful at first to hang it just so,but when we got tired we just threw it on any old way.
    Years later, my sister and I with our husbands owned a Christmas tree farm and grew white pines which we pruned three times each summer to make them look like Christmas trees.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    As a child Dad would take Mom and us kids in the station wagon to cut a cedar tree.
    Mom had a Silver King sweeper. It had the option of reversing the air flow. It also came with a glass jar that screwed on where you could spray paint.
    Dad, being a house painter, always hung the tree on the clothes line in the back yard and would spray our tree white.
    By christmas time, usually the cedars had turned a foxy green almost brown. Mom always wanted a white tree. Only once do I remember him painting it green with some left over paint.
    But there was one Christmas when he almost had to get a new tree. He used the wrong paint. Mom blames him on not reading the can. It turned out to be concrete paint. That was the heaviest tree ever. It had a lot of droop to it.
    Then there was the hanging of the tinsel. Mom insisted it be hung one little stand at a time. Of course we had to save it it from year to year. So when we took the tree down, every piece had to be taken off and wrapped in a newspaper tube.
    I now cut cedar and put it in a vase to make the house smell good. We use a pre-lite artifical tree in the living room.
    Happy holidays!

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    December 14, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I loved reading everyone’s Christmas memories! Thanks for a lovely post. Tinsel was our era, I think, because I grew up with it, too, but rarely see it on trees anymore these days.
    I have one memory of stringing popcorn for our tree when I was little. Some we ate, some we strung. I don’t know what kind of tree it was, and we never had firm traditions.
    Loving the Christmas music over here!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    We had the same tree when I was a kid. Dad would load us up in the truck and off to someones farm we’d go and pick out our tree. It wasn’t like those trees you buy…it was sparse and sad…but we loved it.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I can remember as a child my dad always cut our tree,I guess they were white pines because they looked like the ones in your pictures. If dad couldn’t find one with a good enough shape the right size he would cut the top out of a big tree.
    My older brother and I would go with him, we thought that was something special. I remember him nailing two boards across the trunk of the tree for the stand.
    Tipper, I think the tree that you think looks like a bush is a cedar, I had an elderly friend that always put up a cedar tree.
    I like your pictures.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    December 13, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    What wonderful memories.
    We have had an artificial tree more often that not. I usually try to put some fresh garland on the mantle though.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Tipper. Just loved reading…brought back so many memories. My parents used to go out the same way, but cut down cedar trees. I can still remember how good those trees smelled.Just loved the photos. Blessings, Kathleen

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    I love to see old pics of grandparents. It’s so hard for me to ever imagine that they were young once…and that the world had color back then. As I get older, I have taken to thinking about that a little differently. Cool post

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    You’re a family who knows what to do with tinsel. I admire that deeply. Your trees are great!
    Your family photos remind me of my own.
    Your post warmed my heart.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I love your photographs of your childhood. I loved your Granny’s trees full of tinsel. A tree with tinsel on it always look like a “real” Christmas tree!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I cannot get over how much the pictures of you in your youth look just like your girls! So cute ~ all 3 of you! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Ours always had to be a blue spruce and it came from one of the Christmas tree lots that sprang up after Thanksgiving. I only cut my own tree once – it really didn’t look all that big when we cut it but we could barely get it into our tiny apartment. I love Granny’s tree stand!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Like you, I was a teenager before I discovered that people actually could buy trees that had been cut. We also walked into the woods and chopped down our own tree each year. It was a festive time, looking for the perfect tree.
    In that fifth picture down, you look so much like Chitter and Chatter…or rather, they look so much like you do there!

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    December 13, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    When we were growing up, being city kids mom and dad bought Christmas trees, usually, if I remember right they were Douglas firs. For the last 20 years, we’ve had fake trees at our house. I don’t like them, but Carol’s son was allergic to fir trees, so that’s how it’s been. We have a good friend that has purchased living trees and then after Christmas, she plants them. I think next year I’m going to start that since we now have room enough to plant them. I loved this post. Thanks for sharing, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    December 13, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    We have a fake tree now – but I miss having a fresh tree. Growing up in the NW we would go up in the woods/mountains and cut one. Real trees die by Christmas here – it’s really dry 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    When I was a kid we always whent to the woods to cut a Christmas tree. It was allot of fun!
    The first year my husband & I where married & living in Wyoming I cut a sage brush & crochetted ornament to go on it.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    December 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    We always had a real tree when I was growing up. Dad and my brothers would go out to the woods, somewhere and find one. I remember one yr-someone found a cocoon thing on the tree, decided to put it in a canning jar and see what hatched out. They even poked holes in the top of the lid so it could get air. We woke up one mornign and there were probly hundreds of little bitty tiny praying mantis’ all over the dresser the jar was sitting on.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    December 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    In the beginning we lived inside Kingsport and maybe Mom and Dad sometimes bought a tree at a Christmas tree lot.
    But, they didn’t have much money so Dad probably went out in the country sometimes and cut down a tree, when no one was looking.
    We moved outside of town in the 50s and it’s after that that I begin to remember the trees, at least the kind of tree.
    To us kids there was only one tree that was called a Christmas tree. They were Mountain Junipers or Mountain Cedars, the small, 5 foot to 15 foot cedars with conical shape that you see all over mountainsides and hillsides where cows graze in Appalachia. We called them Christmas trees because that’s what they were, anytime.
    Some of the trees in your pictures are those mountain Christmas trees. Where your brother is with his back to the camera, looking at what you say looks like a bush … that’s one. Where you are ten, with Paul, that’s one… and the one in the five-gallon bucket.
    Oh boy! Going out and bringing in a tree; what a gleeful, happy feeling; happiness from all that was portended in that moment.
    I miss Hopalong Cassidy capbusters. I’d take one this Christmas, instead of a hooded sweatshirt.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Our Christmas tree every year is a white pine, because they grow on the farm and our son likes to go get his own tree….I like them

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    December 13, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Tipper, Thanks for sharing these home Christmas pictures from the past. It bought back memories of
    my sons, the rocking chair, cowboy boots and the first guitar. After we moved back to Georgia, I remember the white pine Christmas tree each year,
    which we always went to the edge of the woods to choose and cut together.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 11:52 am

    thanks for sharing your wonderful family Christmas memories.
    We always went into the woods to search for the perfect tree. Usually it was a Douglas Fir since we live in the Northwest they are bountiful.
    My favorite thing about the tree is after it’s got all the lights and ornaments on it, we turn off all the house lights and just enjoy the beauty of candles and our family tree. Decorations are mainly homemade or some that have been passed down from my Grandma.
    Have a blessed Christmas!!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I had an artificial tree all the time growing up.
    The Captain had a real tree.
    Now we have a real tree every year. The other day I told The Captain and Boo that after Christmas I may purchase a fake tree, when they are marked down.
    They did not like that idea. So I guess next year, it’ll be live, again.

  • Leave a Reply