The tool for planting is called a "divot", which looks like a metal bar with a foot rest, which tapers into a kind of vortex point. One places foot on foot-rest, pushes down, pulls back, and a hole for tree-dropping is created. We'd plant on days that could range from 20 degrees to 70 degrees. I remember sitting on breaks in a toasty-warm vehicle, when the hot chocolate tasted like Heaven. At meal times, my brother and I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with potato chips, a banana, and perhaps chocolate chip cookies. We'd plant the pine trees in long rows, tree after tree after tree. The understory trees and shrubs included holly trees in holiday berry. I remember once on a warmish day resting on pine straw beside some established trees, while the sun filtered in. We planted thousands upon thousands of trees--I can still remember the scent of pine seedlings.
Some evenings, I'd participate in the "living Nativity", standing on the ascending church steps, wearing the garb of a felt-clothed shepherd with a fake beard. We'd stand for twenty or thirty minutes at a time, frozen like statues, and then drink thermos of hot chocolate as if they were ambrosia.
The coolest kids got to play Jesus or Mary or Magi. I was among the lesser "shepherd class". Baby Jesus was played by a plastic doll with a polyurethane head.
I loved sugar cookies shaped like reindeer, gingerbread men, watching "White Christmas" on late Friday nights on a black and white TV upstairs, and the sight of lights, blinking on, off, on, off, as my childhood ebbed away.