My maternal grandparents lived in the motel they owned and ran on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The living room had a large picture window that looked out over the front porch and onto the street below. The Christmas tree always went in front of the window.

My grandparents were the first to get an artificial tree, and they went all out. The tree was silver metallic and had ornaments, but no lights. The lights were provided by a large floodlight sitting on the floor beside the tree, shining through a revolving color wheel that changed the light – and thus the tree color – from red to green to white to blue. It was amazingly different and I was enthralled for about 30 minutes. They only used that tree one year.