277 total views, 2 views today
I have very few requests in life that are truly important to me. But setting up our Christmas tree and having the kids (and their significant others) join us to help decorate is one of them.
We have hundreds of decorations for the tree, including family heirlooms, decorations handmade by the kids when they were little and commercially produced figurines, like Santa on a firetruck or Batman. Almost everyone has a story to tell and what better day to retell those stories than when we gather to decorate the tree.
Since we’ve been married, we’ve had just two artificial trees. Both had an authentic look and feel of a real tree, with uneven branches and tiny pine needles. After almost 25 years of service, we retired our first tree and searched long and hard to find its replacement.
In 2020, my son Kevin began working from home and needed a workspace. He commandeered the living room corner usually reserved for the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, our artificial tree is too large to be placed anywhere else in that room.
We broke tradition and bought a smaller live tree that we could fit in a different spot to make do. Although we could not use all our ornaments, we found places for a good amount of them. The ones we were unable to find room for were packed away until 2021, when we would be able to bring the big tree back up (Kevin has since relocated).
Then the basement disaster hit.
The basement sewer pump went kablooey, spilling sewage in the storage area where we house all the Christmas stuff. Although most things in storage are in plastic containers and just needed to be washed down, the bag holding our tree was soaked. With one hand on the bag and the other holding our nose, out the door it went.
Somehow, the holiday season snuck up on us this year and we never got a chance to search for the perfect artificial tree. My wife and I made an executive decision to downsize our tree this year. And when I mean downsize, I mean downsize.
We purchased a three-foot-tall, live tree.
I know, immediately, your mind drifts to A Charlie Brown Christmas and the tiny tree that everyone laughed at. Linus was the only one who saw why Charlie Brown was so enamored with his tree. It wasn’t about the size of the tree; it was about the commercialization that has taken over Christmas; it was about the holiday. It was about friends and family. In the end, the whole gang decorated that little tree together, making it beautiful and joyful.
That’s what Christmas is to me. We don’t get to spend that much time together as a family anymore. As a kid, it was about Santa and waking up on Christmas morning to many presents. Being with your family was not that important because you were with your family every day.
But as your kids get older, they begin to have families of their own. And that silly little tradition of getting together and decorating the Christmas tree might start to fade away.
Downsizing our Christmas tree isn’t going to stop me from enjoying my children’s company when it’s time to decorate the tree.
We’ll still gather for a lovely Sunday dinner (my wife will make sauce and macaroni) and we’ll try to fit as many of those decorations as we can onto that little tree, being careful not to overload. Maybe we’ll have each kid choose a few of their favorites, which will make it even more special. I have my favorites; I’m sure they’ll have theirs. We’ll listen to rockin’ Christmas music and have hot chocolate, just like we always do.
As for you, dear readers, I wish you the happiest of holidays and hope you get to spend them with those you love. Have a safe, healthy and Happy New Year in 2022 and we’ll get together again.