Written by Carlton V. Nellis circa 1970’s
I’m sure many of you remember Carlton Nellis. He was very active in community service. During the 1970 and 80’s he wrote articles for the Gloversville newspaper. Many people clipped these articles out and put them in scrapbooks. This is one of his articles where he was reminiscing about Christmases in Northville.
One of the first holiday activities was to cut a Christmas tree. Northville, being surrounded by a forest of potential Christmas trees, finding one was no problem. The task was to find the most suitable one from the innumerable thousands of evergreens available.
One of the most popular was the balsam, because it would fill the home with its fragrance. The possibility of buying an artificial tree was unheard of. It would have been like “carrying coals to New Castle”.
Just about every home had a tree; either free for the cutting, or at the cost of having someone deliver one. The churches each had a least one, or probably more.
With the inexhaustible supply of all sizes available, one of appropriate size would be chosen. Often, when the conifer was taken into the house, it was discovered to be larger than it appeared in the forest. This necessitated cutting off a section of the tree at the base. The boughs of this cut-off were used to cover the unsightly wooden box, which was the support for the tree. This box was usually filled with coal, for ballast.
The tree ornaments were brought out of storage, and were inventoried. Perhaps a few would be repaired. Most likely, the collection would be increased by the purchase of a few.
It being before the era of electric lights; candles would sometimes be used to light the tree. These would be set in candle-stick holders. This was seldom done, because of the danger of igniting the tree.
Another early activity, in preparing for the holidays, was stringing popcorn for the evergreen’s decoration.
In preparing for this chore, much more popcorn was prepared that was needed for the stringing. The workers at the tree trimming bee would probably eat the surplus. “Snitched” corn, even without salt or butter, tasted pretty good.