Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)

Search

Loading...

Friday, December 03, 2010

Hints And Comments For a Blind Person On Trimming a Christmas Tree

by Fred Wurtzel

It may be a little odd to some people, but some blind people have never decorated a Christmas tree. There was a recent request on a list-serve that I follow from a blind couple for directions on how to independently trim a tree. I have done this many times as a totally blind person, since losing my eyesight. It is not a science but there are some general principles which I follow.

We have been married for 34 years and have lots of ornaments collected over the years. Our first tree was just two feet tall, sat on a table, had maybe a dozen ornaments, and one string of lights. I bought it for $1.00 very near Christmas and all the needles fell off within a couple hours of bringing it into the house. We loved the tree, just the same.

Some people have theme trees and some people have all the same colored lights and ornaments. We are very eclectic. We have ornaments that remind us of people and events in our lives and they range from computers to pets, sports, food, reindeer to abstract curiosities. I like eclectic, myself.

Mary and I have a stylized star for the top of ours. It is pretty old and too heavy for some trees. I sometimes have to trim the point down to get a stem strong enough to hold it up. But, that is tradition for you.

We now have an artificial tree. I basically object to this, but I am too lazy to fight about it, since I will have to go out in the weather and cold and wet, bring the tree home, let it dry out, mount it in a stand and have it tip over a couple times before I get it right, then clean up all the needles after we take it down.

I love the smell of a real tree. I like the ecological reasons for having a real tree. Real trees create more jobs than artificial and the disposal is more ecologically friendly than a plastic, glass, or metal tree. So convenience and laziness, in me, is turning me into an environmental hypocrite. Just like a liberal like me, huh? (smile)

I prefer starting at the bottom with the lights. The lights go on first. Then garland if you use it, then ornaments, then tinsel if you use it instead of garland. Garland and tinsel are optional. Most people don't use both, though there are no rules. We started using garland because cats are vulnerable to choking on tinsel. A more earth-friendly alternative is to string popcorn with or without cranberries and use it instead of garland. This takes a lot of patience and that is why I don't do it.

One of the most annoying parts of lighting a tree is knowing if the string actually lights. Our color identifier has a light probe on it, so we can use it to know if a bulb is lit. You can also plug them in and feel if they get warm.

Most tree lights are wired in parallel, so if one goes out, they all go out. I find this to be the most annoying part of decorating. So plug in the lights before you string them on the tree to make bulb replacement easier.

Unless there is a window behind the tree, I do not totally encircle the tree. I start nearest the electrical outlet, then go straight across, proceeding toward the opposite side, near the wall opposite from where I started. Then go up six inches to a foot, depending on how many lights you have, and come back across, keeping the second string as near parallel to the first as possible. Keep repeating until you reach the top.

It is sometimes necessary to adjust if you come up with too few lights to reach the top, or have too many left when you reach the top, though this is not a major problem since you can simply reverse and go back down. You may end up with more lights at the top if you do this, which really isn't a big problem, depending on how fussy you want to be.

If possible, imagine where most people will view the tree from and consider that most of the decorations should be visible from that point of view and look relatively evenly distributed. My only rule is "Do my best, have fun, and don't worry."

With the ornaments, I start with the larger ones and try to distribute them evenly from left to right and top to bottom. I then fill in the blank areas with smaller ones. Hope this is useful!

Fred is an Elder at the First Christian Church in Lansing, Michigan and a former president of the Michigan Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This article originally appeared on Grease and Sugar Monthly, his personal blog. We've reprinted it here for your convenience.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter

Archives

Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at fredshead@aph.org.

Disclaimers

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.



The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.





The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.





Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.





Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.





Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email fredshead@aph.org to request permission.





Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.





Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.





Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.