The tree stood naked in the classroom. It had to thaw out and tempt us with it's glorious fresh cut fragrance. It waited, we waited.
Finally the day came when the teacher would bring out the strips of green and red paper and the paste. Helpers were assigned their jobs, some pushed desks together for a makeshift table, some passed out the strips of paper, some passed out Popsicle sticks, some moistened pieces of brown paper towel and folded them into squares and delivered them to waiting children. The paste was in a big jar, a big glob of it would be placed in the center of the make shift table usually on a metal plate. The Popsicle stick was to be used as a tool to snare some paste. You had to snare enough to properly glue the ends of your first link together. Too little paste and your link would not hold, too much and it took too long to dry. If you gave up on your Popsicle stick and used your fingers to apply the glue, your fingers would begin to take up the color of the strips and stick to everything you touched. The smell of paste and wet brown paper towels filled the air.
The paper chain was supposed to be red, green, red, green. Someone would mess up, and get two reds together, sometimes they would cry. With the paste we were using mistakes were easily corrected. Our goal was a chain as long as our classroom, when it was together it was laid on the floor to dry completely overnight. Everyone helped with clean up, the desk tops and our hands were washed.
The next afternoon just before school was out, everyone would take up part of that paper chain and hold it gently off of the floor. The tree was ready and waiting in the middle of the classroom. Our teacher stood at the tree and accepted each students part of the chain, weaving it in and around the branches. When all of our paper chain was on the tree, we would sing "Jingle Bells" stand around the tree and admire our handiwork.
A simple tree trimmed by students, who learned cooperation, patience and teamwork while creating simple paper chains for their classroom Christmas tree:)