Christmas Tree Lights and Martha Harsh

Ah, memories of trimming a Christmas tree (after it was displayed nearly straight and the best side showing to the room, of course!)– putting the Christmas lights on the tree.

My sister and I frequently helped our aunt Martha Harsh decorate her tree on a Wednesday after school.  She would have the tree up and in the stand, but let us put on the decorations.  Sometimes her dog Mitch also got into the act but was more hindrance than help.

The lights were the first thing to be put on the tree.  Prior to that we had to untangle the cords and basically lay them out straight on the floor.  This was easier said than done, given the length of the electrical cords.  Usually Martha did most of the untangling and this was only one of two times when we would see her get extremely frustrated.  (The other was attempting to start her power lawn mower with the wrap cord, but that’s a story for another post.)

Martha was an unusually calm person and took life in stride.  A more patient person would be hard to find.  But put a series of tangled Christmas electrical light cords in front of her and her frustration level rose exponentially.  There were no cuss words or anything, just a very stern look on her face and a sense of exasperation.  But eventually that which was tangled would become untangled and then we could proceed to help her place the lights on the tree … all a prelude to the second challenge:  which of the lights did and did not work.  If one in the series was not working, none of them worked.  (I would learn later in my physics class this was a perfect example of lights connected in a series as opposed to a parallel connection!)

So we had to test each light and replace it as necessary.  This probably took the greater part of the whole tree trimming episode.  At last the task was done and the fun part for my sister and I could begin as we put the ornaments on the tree.  I think Martha was so exhausted by this time from dealing with electrical lights, that she gladly relinquished this part to us.

The final touch was putting the tinsel (loose “ice sickles”) on the tree.  More of the silver shining material probably ended up on the floor … but the final result was a tree that, in our opinion, was rivaled by no other.

Thanks, Martha, for the great memories!

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”

About maryjlohr

Avid genealogist.
This entry was posted in Christmas, Memories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Christmas Tree Lights and Martha Harsh

  1. Pat says:

    Mary, you share the best memories on this blog. I loved this post.

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