Saw online that if we lived in the Metro Manila area we could purchase a fresh, 7 ft. to 8 ft. Douglas fir tree for Christmas shipping directly from Oregon in the United States for 3,899.95 pesos, or almost 88 US Dollars. The S&R, Costco-like, warehouse stores in the Manila area are selling these genuine Christmas trees with a reservation fee of P800 required. Of course it is way too expensive and impractical for us to make such a trip, but if we ever decided to relocate later in the Manila area, it's good to know for future reference that we have a place to buy a real Christmas tree.
Used to have a real Christmas tree for years when growing up back in the States. Not those artificial monstrosities that I hated. Although Mr. Bishop, our landlord whose $30 a month rental home we lived in across the street , had a beautiful aluminum tree in his picture window that constantly changed colors.
However, every Christmas while growing up in a small town in central Illinois, Mt. Olive, my Mom and Dad always purchased a fresh tree. A fancy, color-changing aluminum tree was certainly not in our budget. I went to school many times with patched jeans (ragged Levi's were not in vogue back then), and often wore shoes with cardboard lined inside when the soles developed holes. A tree like Mr. Bishop's was way out of our league.
After hauling the tree home on top of whatever Chevrolet we owned at the time, Dad would always curse as he cut off the bottom of the tree to fit in our ancient metal tree stand since the job required multiple cuts and adjustments before the tree would sit straight in the stand. If you ever watched "A Christmas Story" and listened to the father, portrayed by the late Darren McGavin, let out a string of mumbled expletives, you would get an idea of what it was like around our house when Dad was getting angry or frustrated.
However, my Dad's curse words were clearly understood. Especially if the tree toppled over once it was in the stand. Oh, my, pity the poor kid that was nearby when that happened! It would be better to face the fierce fanning flames of Hell, than to experience an inspired string of curse words from my flustered father.
But once a good string of lights was found (after hours after testing each bulb to find the burned out one), and after Mom patiently placed those strands of silver "icicles" on the branches, the tree was ready for our ornaments from Christmases past. I set up my Christmas village which I purchased with my paper boy earnings (after I got my monthly supply of comic books from the downtown Rexall drugstore), and the magic of Christmas permeated through our home.
Simpler times. Good memories. I'm almost tempted to board a flight to Manila tree to buy one of those trees from S&R and bring it home via Super Ferry. Can't fit it into our budget, though. Think I need to get a new pair of shoes instead. Starting to get a hole in one of them. (P.S. Thanks to Tony and John in Austria for their recent comments on a post I had concerning mailing real postcards from the Philippines. I've currently revamping the project and adding new postcard choices.)