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Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

by Eva Pasco


Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol, the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, was the first animated holiday special ever produced specifically for television, airing December 18, 1962. As if that didn't shake things up enough during our yuletide seasons of the Sixties...Hark the herald, angels sing, "Glory to our Christmas tree!"


The Sixties were a time when "going green" implied "tis the season to put up your Christmas tree." We weren't privy to the tagging and cutting traditions of tree farms, or inquisitive about their pest management/soil conservation practices. We hadn't given a fleeting thought to recycling through composting, chipping, or muching either.


The acquisition process was quite simple, really. My dad drove us to one of the numerous lots bordered with colorful lights suspended from chicken wire to select a pine among the many orphans stashed on the ground. He gave one a fair shake to test its needles, paid $3 - $5 for the prize green, lassoed it to the roof of the car, and dragged it into the living room for its propping and securing. My mother, sister, and I did a whole lotta shakin' by trimming the tree branches with lights, garland, angel hair, tinsel, and sugar coated bulbs.


 The first artificial Christmas trees--feather trees made from green-dyed goose feathers-- made their debut in the United States through the Sears, Roebuck, and Company catalog in 1913. Our family made the transition from real to artificial by jumping on the bandwagon for one of the first brush trees--literally hard plastic bristles dyed a pine green shade. How lovely are thy color coded branches to poke into a wooden stick! Not! The tree which stood sentinel for a few years was nothing but an anorexic poseur spared the pinchiness of angel hair and the droop of tinsel in favor of canned snow.


A-a-h, but in 1958 the Micro Aluminum Company did a lot more shakin' when it introduced the silver aluminum tree which accrued popularity in the Sixties. Though silver balls became passe, most of us adopted a monochromatic monotony of all blue, red, or green while a color wheel caused a glistenin' with every tacky turn.


Certainly a whole lotta shakin' goin' on as we followed the trends of the season, which to me, amounted to the dumbing down of Christmas in the name of paring down decorations and easy storage for a holly jolly. Glad tidings to those who stuck with the tradition of procuring a real tree to celebrate Christmas, oblivious of needles embedded in the carpet. I won't even add dignity to our albino Christmas tree which cast a pallor on Bing's White Christmas.



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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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