O Tannenbaum

Memories of traditional holiday visits to White Bear Floral.
White Bear Floral, ca. 1950.

Christmas with all of its traditions is a special time for many families. Whether baking, sledding, wrapping gifts or decorating your home to look like a high-voltage power plant is part of your family’s customs, it is quite likely they have taken on a special meaning over the years.

For many families, one of those traditions is selecting the perfect tree to be trimmed with all of the ornaments collected through the decades. Everyone knows Christmas is nearing when the tree lots begin to spring up in parking lots around town, and cars loaded with their selection travel up and down Highway 61 to their holiday destination.

Tree farms have been a popular choice for hearty groups who like to choose and harvest their own trees. For our family, when I was growing up, the favorite place to choose just the right tree was White Bear Floral. The scent of pine could knock you off your feet when you entered the greenhouse. Somehow, no matter the year, they always had a tree that was just the right height and fit the nook in the living room corner perfectly. As a child, that was a magical thing. I would guess, in hindsight, it had something to do with first selecting the appropriate tree and then ultimately my mom working her magic to trim and tuck the branches to make it all come together.

Part of the fun of a fresh tree was eagerly waiting for the branches to warm and “drop” so they could be properly decorated. This process often took 24 hours or more and, for a child, it was almost as excruciating as waiting for the nod to begin opening the gifts that were gathered beneath it.

Sara Markoe Hanson is the executive director of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. She is one of a handful of community representatives sharing history thoughts monthly on this back page.


For more information on White Bear Floral, visit whitebearhistory.org or call 651.407.5327.