The Red Truck, The Wreath and a Christmas Tree

It seems that every time I turn around this Christmas season, I see a vintage red pickup truck with a wreath on the front, and a Christmas tree in the back.

Whether I am online or in a brick

and mortar store, there it is!

It's depicted in art pieces ranging from Hallmark Christmas cards to rustic paintings found at retailers such as Kirkland's and Target.  

The little red truck is on Christmas tree ribbons, gift boxes, gift cards - it's everywhere.  

I live in Branson, Missouri.  There is a year-round, Christmas store here.  The name of the store is Kringles.  They have a section in their store dedicated to this specific motif. 

Personally, I like it.

It makes me feel good to see it.

Red & Black Plaid
Something else that goes right along with this design is the red and black plaid print that is popular this season.

I've seen this at all of the same locations, usually right along side of the little red pickup truck.

In fact, Facebook is using this design as a selectable background for user posts. 

I've even seen both the red truck and the red and black plaid design at Petco.

Why do you suppose this is?  I have a theory. 

Origin Story
Where did all of this come from?  After doing extensive research on this.  I can't come up with exactly the first place the little red truck was used for Christmas decorations.

By extensive research I mean, I went several pages deep in Google, using a few different search terms. :)

For me though, I know exactly why this particular design resonates so well.  I have a feeling I am not alone in this.

My Story
When I was a boy, one set of my grandparents lived on a farm.  It was several miles outside of town, but seemed like an entirely different world.

During the summer, I would sometimes spend several days with them.  It always seemed like a pretty big transition.

They didn't go to stores, and restaurants every 5 minutes like I was used to doing.   Of course my usual friends were not there either.

I remember my grandparents even had what was called a party line.  That meant that they shared a telephone connection with a couple of their neighbors.

The only time I had ever seen anything like that was on TV's Green Acres.

The cable company hadn't made it out that far, so they used an antenna for their TV reception.  Since they lived in sort of a valley, between two big hills the TV choices were not much.

I couldn't watch Gilligan's Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Leave it to Beaver while eating my Lucky Charms cereal.

Instead, we had bacon, eggs, toast and whatever else Grandma made for breakfast, and then a home-grown lunch too.

It all seemed a little bizarre to me at the time.  

It sounds like paradise now!

Grandpa raised some livestock, and had a large garden.  He grew lots of different vegetables, and occasionally a fruit or two.

My favorite was his strawberries!

I remember walking up and down the long rows of plowed dirt picking strawberries.  Sometimes, the best berries didn't make it into the white bucket I would carry with me.

If I saw a big, bright red berry, I would wipe it off a little bit.  Then I'd eat that juicy bad boy, right there on the spot.

Sometimes, my grandma would send me out to the field to ask grandpa a question or tell him it was time for lunch.

From a kid's perspective, he was a more serious person.  He joked around at night, but in the daytime, he was all about getting his work done.

My grandma on the other hand, seemed to joke around, and laugh a lot more.  She would take care of the chickens, a few ducks, and the occasional turkey; most of them even had names.

She would sometimes have me go into the chicken house with her, to get the eggs.  I remember there was a rooster, that didn't like anyone.

We were even because I didn't like him either!

If you're wondering what all of this has to do with the little red truck with the Christmas tree in the back, I promise I'm getting there.

I have a bunch of stories I could tell from those days on the farm.  All-in-all, it was a sort of paradise compared to the world most of us live in today.

On Christmas Day and sometimes Christmas Eve, my immediate family would join up with my aunts, uncles, cousins and others at my grandparents house.

We would have a big holiday dinner, with family spread throughout the house.  There was food and people everywhere.

Us youngsters would talk about what we had already got for Christmas, or were hoping to get.  

We all looked forward to Summer, when school was going to be out, and we could come back to stay for a few days.

The adults who sat at the big table, would talk about whatever it was that adults talked about.  

Before we began to eat our meal, Grandpa would pray.  He would give thanks for the blessings that we had been given.  

It was sort of a Norman Rockwell existence that some people today say never really happened.

It did happen though; it happened to me. 

Sometimes, we would need to go out to the garage to get something.  (We may have needed a tool or batteries for a gift someone had been given.) 

I was always on the lookout for the mice or rats I had heard about.  I don't remember ever seeing one though.

As we went into that cold, un-insulated garage, we would see Grandpa's work bench.  He had so many tools!

I still remember the smell of that old white garage.  It was kind of musty smelling, with hay, and occasionally an ever so slight whiff of dog poop thrown in for good measure.

It was the country.

Further into the garage sat Grandpa's old, red pickup truck.

You might be wondering if it was a Ford or a Chevy truck.  I think I will leave that as a mystery for now.  

Some folks have pre-conceived ideas about such things.  Besides, it doesn't really matter that much does it? lol 

His red truck was used for work.  

I remember going out into the timber, as he and my dad cut wood to heat our homes.  It wasn't something we did all that often. 

I do remember that dredging through the snow on cold days seemed a little more fun when Grandpa was around.

On a really good day, one of my uncles would be there too.  Listening to more than one chainsaw at the same time was pretty cool!

He and his red truck seemed so old at the time.  I loved him, and would love to be able to take one more ride in that old red truck. 

The Takeaway
You have probably guessed it.  The takeaway is that, I believe we as a people are missing those simpler times.

We yearn for the days before social media, and the non-stop hustle and bustle took over many of our lives.

The big city ad executives tapped into that feeling of longing, and are now capitalizing on it.

I don't fault them for doing it.  I think it brings something to the forefront that we all need this time of year - nostalgia.  

Thank you for reading,
Love one another

I wrote another article about Christmas, read it here.

Disclaimer: I believe the philosophy I put forth here.  I believe my points are valid.  However, all situations are not equal.  If you are in dire need, please speak to a respected faith leader or professional counselor in your area.  The thoughts and opinions here are my own and should not take the place of professional advice.

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