I remember helping Dad put up the blue eaves lights with those little green clips.
I think it was some kind of homage to a decoration his dad made when he took a piece of plywood, covered it in tinfoil and put holes in it at the places where lines met of a 5 point star. The thing was, just those points lit up don't really look like a star. Well it was shinny and colourful just the same. Another labour of love that we never really appreciated enough at the time.
He seemed to like making things like that to decorate and celebrate Christmas. Something he kept up long after into making wooden Reindeer etc..
It may have been weather or everyone's schedules, but I remember being disappointed on what I recall was the first time we didn't go out to cut down a tree. I do remember it to be a big deal to actually be able to 'chop' down a real tree and we shouted "Timber!" as it fell. Then taking turns hauling it back to the car. There was a pride in ownership there that isn't the same as picking one out off a lot.
There was of course the Christmas Branch Dad brought home one year. I remember it being pretty late in the season and selection on the lots would have been low anyway. We gave him such a hard time about it. In the end, once full of all our ornaments (There would have been about 120 tagged ornaments by '84), lights, tinsel angel hair, beads, candy canes and popcorn strings, that tree was as lovely as any other and as always, symbolized Christmas for us. How very Charlie Brown.
I remember the house lights being on (I was probably the one plugging them in under the carport each night) as I went out to do my paper route each night. Twilight when I went out, but the lights were there to welcome me when I came back in the dark. You could see the multi-coloured tree lights though the front window behind the sheers. It was Christmas.