Sometimes a runty 4-foot Magnolia is all the Christmas Tree you need


By Charles Towne  

I was very busy counting our many blessings when Nancy walked into the room with a beautiful smile on her face. I said, “Tell me about it sweetie?”

“Tell you about what?”

“Why you are smiling?”

“Smiling? I’m not smiling!”

“Yes you are.” I said. “You have a big smile on your face and I’m curious to know what you’re smiling about.”

“Oh,” she said, “Oh, Well… I’m just happy!”

“O.K., and what are you happy about?”

“Well, do you remember when I stuck that stick in my eye yesterday, and it hurt real bad?”

“Yes, I remember. I kissed it, and it was all better.”

“Oh, it wasn’t all that much better.”

“Hmmm,” I said, “Well, You said it was better.”

“Yeah, sure, I suppose it was a little bit better.”

“That’s nice honey, is that the reason you are smiling?”

“Sorta, I’m happy that I didn’t poke another stick in my eye today when I was back cutting our Christmas tree!”

Charles Towne is a caregiver for his wife Nancy for the past 15 years.
Charles Towne has been a caregiver for his wife Nancy for the past 15 years.

“I guess that’s cause to be happy. No one wants to poke a stick in their eye. Hey, wait, did you say cutting a Christmas tree! Where were you cutting a Christmas tree?” (Now you should know before I proceed that the only thing faintly resembling a Christmas tree in our neighborhood is growing in our neighbor’s yard. I was beginning to be a tad concerned.)

“Back in the woods,” she said.

“Sweetheart, we don’t have any Christmas trees growing in our woods.”

“Oh, yeah. There is that.” She said. “But I looked around and found a lonely little tree, so I cut it down and set it up in the living room.”

By now, as you can imagine, my imaginer was working in overdrive, running amok through the halls and corridors of the squirrel cage of my mind if you will. As you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to see our “Christmas tree.”

I am sure you have seen, “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” where he sets up his Christmas twig. Well, we had one just like it. A runty little magnolia tree about four feet tall with seven leaves on it. The leaves were turning brown so using her creative genius, Nancy had spray painted each leaf those joyous holiday colors, red, green and white, and then she had hung a few ornaments on it. It was leaning a bit askew, like all scrawny little magnolias tend to do, but darn if it wasn’t the cutest little Christmas tree, and my wife is happy.
Oh Christmas twig, oh Christmas twig,

How we love our Christmas twig!

Not too fancy… Not too big,

All blessings on our Christmas twig….


Christmas trees ain’t all the same

Some are puny, some are lame

Some humungous prices bring

Others we… their glory sing


Some in rich homes…

Some in poor

Bringing joy

And so much more


Some in forests dense abound

Some in shopping lots are found

On the white house lawn recall,

The largest Christmas tree of all!


But Nancy danced a little jig,

Round and round, our Christmas twig
Live fully,

Love openly,
And make a difference, today.

cropped-pictureCharles Towne is a longtime Apopka resident, member of Insp!re Church and a published author.


  1. My Christmas trees when I was a kid were always real, never artificial. They were always southern red cedar, and my daddy would chop them down from either the woods behind our property, or on our property. They were always popping up volunteering, we didn’t purposely plant them……and they were plentiful. We often had people stop by and ask my daddy if they could cut one down for their family, and my daddy told them sure, that it was ok with him. The light bulbs were big and were so hot, that if you touched them, you would get a serious burn! My mother bought some really pretty glass ornaments that were so fragile! At school, we had red cedar trees too, in our classrooms, decorated with construction paper chains, and aluminum foil covered cardboard stars, and popcorn strings. Oh, and those stringy tinsel icicles that ended up everywhere and you could find them months later! …………I remember when my mother bought some sets of those bubble lights that had liquid in them, and when they heated up they would bubble, now that was exciting!!! The only thing was that my family didn’t set up the Christmas tree until right before Christmas, because the cedar trees would dry out really quickly and would shed needles, and they didn’t hold up, like the northern evergreen type trees that are sold commercially and used now, that is, if you set them up too early.

  2. My husband’s family used to sell Christmas trees at their business. They ordered them from NC and my husband would unload them when they arrived. It was a nasty job. He would come home with resin all over him and his clothes, and it was hard to get off of his skin, and he would get all scratched up unloading them. The trees would have ice balls and some snow still in them, as it was freezing up there in the Carolinas when the tree farm loaded them, onto the big truck. One year he was cutting the twine loose and standing them up on the lot and tying them up to stand up, and surprise, a big live bat flew out of the tree showing teeth! So all I can say is check your live trees out really good, before you bring them inside your house next year!


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