Red & Grey Knitted Mittens - MCHS Collections, #1953.31.5 a&b

The Mitten Tree

This is the final article we have to share from MCHS Writing Intern Ray Mulvey. Ray wrote this article in November 2020, before the holiday season began, but we’ve held off posting it as there were a number of other items to share between then and now. As it is early January, it’s still mitten season and thus a good time to learn about the Mitten Tree. – MEW

The Mitten Tree

As the seasons turn and the end of the year approaches, when the snow falls and the nights are long, a variety of traditions dating back many years are brought out from storage and put on display. One of these traditions is that of a Mitten Tree; a specially-decorated Christmas tree adorned not with glass baubles, but with knitted hats, mittens, and scarves.

I learned about this colorful activity from an article I read in a clipping from the Little Falls Daily Transcript, dated December 12, 1977, called “The mitten tree.” The tradition of the Mitten Tree was a community event, where in the weeks prior to the end of December and starting after Thanksgiving, a Christmas tree was decorated with all types of small knitted pieces of clothing, all either made or bought, that were donated by the Little Falls community. This festive display of a tree covered in mittens wasn’t just for show however. During the week prior to Christmas, all the mittens and hats and scarves would be taken down and distributed to young children who were in need of warmer clothing, so they could celebrate the winter season a little bit safer.

This heart-warming tradition was comforting to learn about, especially this year as we enter a winter season that is dominated by fear. It’s a reminder that it’s always important to think about those who may have less than you, and it’s a timeless and universal kindness to remember to think about the safety of others.

~ Ray Mulvey, MCHS Writing Intern

Red & Grey Knitted Mittens - MCHS Collections, #1953.31.5 a&b
Red & Grey Knitted Mittens, Palm Side – MCHS Collections, #1953.31.5 a&b

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