The Classroom Christmas Tree

I don’t know about the school your children attend, but at Hawthorne School, the rules having to do with classroom Christmas trees morphed over the years I was a part of the school system.

When I first started working at Hawthorne in 1982 (yes, I know- I’m old! Ha ha) the routine for getting and setting up a classroom tree was pretty much as follows.

Most often, several weeks before Christmas, a family would approach their child’s teacher asking if it would be okay to get a tree for the classroom while they were out in the beautiful snow-filled mountains around Bozeman cutting one for themselves.

Teachers rarely had to worry about where their classroom tree was coming from.  Families took care of their child’s teacher and classroom in a nod to the spirit of the season.

Once the tree was delivered to school it was fitted with a stand. The stand was usually made from two lengths of 2” x 4” lumber that ended up looking like an “X” nailed to the bottom of the tree. Once the stand was attached, the tree was set up in a place of prominence in the classroom. Then, as the student whose family had donated the tree beamed with pride, the actual decorating process could begin.

Well, as I said at the beginning of this post, some things have changed over the years-and actually, not all for the worse.

Over the years, as information became more widely available and awareness grew, the hazardous risk of a live tree decked in electrical lights and standing for several weeks without water became apparent.

In addition, our school communities seemed to become more aware of children with pine tree allergies. It makes me wonder how many kids struggled through the classroom Christmas season with watery, itchy eyes and runny noses in all the years before this awareness.

As a result of this new way of thinking about Christmas trees and in an effort to do what was safest and best for kids and teachers, it wasn’t long before live trees were no longer allowed in the school’s hallowed halls.

That’s not to say that artificial trees were banned as well. No sir! Our school district wasn’t populated by a bunch of Grinches. In actuality, over the years, our community has been blessed with administrators who really care and want the best for our children.

So now, each year in the weeks leading up to Christmas, teachers are able to pull their fire resistant, safety-standard-approved artificial tree out of storage and pop it into place.

And believe me, there’s no difference in the gusto with which the children decorate a live tree or an artificial tree. The classroom hums with busy little people, first, crafting their special ornaments for this special tree and then delighting in hanging them from the boughs.

And every year, the transformation is amazing! A tree that was formerly just a lackluster thing of green in the corner suddenly pops with the colorful paper and glittery items adorning it. Who knew that scissors and paste could do so much for a tree’s image!

After working for almost three decades at Hawthorne School, it’s hard for me to envision a proper Christmas tree without handcrafted ornaments. After all, what self-respecting student tree would ring in the holidays without garlands of daisy-chains and little walnut mice festooning it?

In honor of all the beautiful classroom trees I’ve seen over the years, I’m leaving you today with links to some quick and easy Christmas ornaments you can make with your child. I hope you enjoy them.

Now, one final reminder- don’t forget to begin and end each crafting session with a big hug for your child. After all, you are making a new Christmas memory together!

Good bye for now and don’t forget to come back soon!  Merry Christmas and holiday blessings to all of you!


Christmas Walnut Mouse  on

Retro Cardboard Tube “Star” Ornaments on

Recycled Lids Photo Ornaments on

Paper plate Christmas Angel on

Snowmen Ornaments on

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