The only holidays that I remember decorating for when I was growing were Valentines day and Christmas. I think mom decorated for Valentines day because it was easy to stick the paper hearts and cherubs in the windows and they were probably inexpensive, too. I think it also brightened up the drab winter. Really, I like to believe that she decorated because my birthday was in February. I loved cakes from Mrs. Backer’s Bakery on South Temple Street in Salt Lake and I often had one. I think my most favorite was the ice cream from Snelgrove’s. It was vanilla ice cream shaped like a large brick and some how they had magically put a cherry ice cream heart down the center. This ice cream was not meant to be scooped, it was meant to be sliced so that you could see the heart. When it wasn’t February, my favorite Snelgrove flavor was Canadian Vanilla.
Christmas was a different story. My mom liked decorating a beautiful tree. We didn’t have a lot of money and so she bought the tree and we used the large multicolored lights. One year she was tired of the old ornaments that her mother had given her. The very old ornaments that I would cherish if I had them today. She hung them up by their little hooks on the clothesline in our basement. Then she spray painted them all shiny black. Really! Black ornaments on a Christmas tree. She loved that tree, but as a child I thought it was awful.
She got a new favorite when we moved to Bountiful. She had become friends with some designers and they offered to decorate a tree for her. It was flocked white so it looked like it was covered in snow. The ornaments were birds, fans, bunches of grapes… really who puts bunches of plastic grapes on the Christmas tree. She refused to take it down until my dad borrowed the Polaroid camera from work to take a photo for her so she could recreate it every year. He refused, he hated that tree. She stood firm and our tree was still standing in the living room in February. Susan or I closed the drapes because we both knew that the absolute longest a tree should be up is the first week of January. We were embarrassed. It was a live tree that was being held together by the flocking. When large chunks of the flock filled with pine needles started to fall off she finally took it down, just before February ended.