…”The Trick or Tree?”

Dear Reader:

Isn’t it curious how life imitates art and art imitates life? I see this more and more as I grow older…one of the perks, I suppose, of living a life-time filled with many different experiences.

I enjoy adding a new children’s book every year to each of the holidays in my storytelling “library.” This year, in typical random fashion, I came across this special little story. It has such a great message in it and the story opens itself up to several creative ways to get children involved in making it come alive.

The story starts out in a Christmas tree lot where young saplings are excitedly conversing about growing up to be beautiful Christmas trees one day…the type of tree that customers will want to take home and decorate for the holidays. (All except for one rather grumpy little sapling who decides he wants nothing to do with this Christmas tree holiday business.)

He complains to the other saplings that he doesn’t like lights, decoration, or people. So mind over matter…he purposefully keeps the green branches from sprouting and each year becomes odder and odder-looking… to the point that customers wince at him, shake their heads, and walk the other direction.

One day a big For Sale sign goes up on the tree lot…it has been sold. All the other trees have gone home with customers over the years except, of course,  this one strange, grumpy tree. Soon homes are built around a partial vacant lot where he, alone, stands glaring out at the world around him.

Until one day…some neighborhood children discover…that all his bumps and lumps make for the best climbing tree…ever! The children turn him into forts, space vessels…anything their imagination can produce.

But one day the children hear their parents announce that it is time to cut down that ugly tree. For the first time, in a long time, the old tree wants to live…he has grown fond of the children who adore playing on his branches and misses them in the winter time when he is left alone. Is it too late to save himself?

The children come up with a brilliant idea…they turn him into a Halloween tree with all his scary lumps and bumps. Soon the whole neighborhood gets involved decorating him and he becomes the beloved “Trick or Tree” from that time on.

After I finished reading this sweet little story…I remembered that I had not pulled out my own Halloween “Tree” in several years. I found him in one of the closets and proudly displayed him again.

But as a teacher…what a great lesson could be taught to the children about accepting differences and making something good out of something less desirable at first glance. Down deep everyone wants to be accepted and loved.

The children could bring in a large planter, filled with dirt, then add a crooked (broken) branch and make decorations for the “Trick or Tree” in the classroom as part of a Halloween project. The possibilities are endless.

Later as I glanced through my Maine photos I discovered the strangest trees that Anne pointed out on two separate occasions. These trees have the oddest shapes…filled with all kinds of lumps and bumps…(perhaps they just simply are all “Trick or Trees” at heart.)

So until tomorrow….”Often it is the deepest pain that empowers you to grow into your highest self.” Salmansohn

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

While going through some kitchen cabinets over the weekend…I found my silver pumpkins…so glad I caught them before the season was over…love my ‘Blessed’ candle Carrie gave me for my birthday!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to …”The Trick or Tree?”

  1. bcparkison says:

    You are so good t finding something good in every thing. Halloween I have trouble with.Yes it is a fun time to dress up and ‘get treats’ but it is also an invitation to evil which is very heart breaking to our God.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      It is all in how we transform everything in life to be good for something that can give back to others during its lifespan….probably the most important lesson for children to learn.


  2. Rujuta says:

    That’s such a nice post. I love your way of interpreting stuff! 🙂
    There’s a lot to learn from your way of thinking.. I can imagine how good it would have been to be your student.


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