I have warm memories of visiting my Aunt Dorothy at Christmastime. In one corner of her living room on an end table was a hawthorn branch she had put in a flowerpot and carefully stuck gumdrops on the thorns.
When I would visit, I always made a beeline for the tree so I could eat all of the black gumdrops first, then continuing on to the other flavors. It was what really made my Christmas at Aunt Dorothy's.
I thought Aunt Dorothy put a thorny gumdrop tree up year after year because my cousins and I loved it so much.
After I was grown, my aunt let me in on a little secret: She wanted a no-fuss tree. She didn't want to spend time decorating a tree, just to take it all back down in a few weeks. She also lived in a small house and didn't really have enough space for a traditional tree.
To her, a gumdrop tree was an easy way to decorate for the holidays. But for us kids, it was a Christmas tradition that we couldn't do without.