Monday, December 17, 2007

The Perfect Christmas Tree

...doesn't live here. Our tree is a masterpiece clearly constructed by the hands of children. The ornaments hang in large clusters on branches near the bottom. Candy canes hang half-eaten and still in their wrappers. The lights, once tucked neatly into the body of the tree, now droop and hang.

It is a real tree, and always will be. We are real tree people. When I was growing up, my dad did some work for a tree farmer. Which, meant a trade. We not only continued our tradition of real trees, but we ramped it up to trees still in the burlap ball, which were eventually planted in our yard. Oh, the memories of that annual disaster. We have done that around here a few times, but for now are just sticking with the sawed off Douglass from Lowe's in an effort to simplify our traditions while the boys are so young.

Our ornaments remind me of our house before we got our own stuff. Our ornaments are a collection of hand-me-downs, freebies and a few simple ones we bought together here and there. Some from my childhood, some we have received as gifts over the year, some we bought together in the early years of our marriage. Sounds just like all of our old furniture before we moved to our grown-up house and got all new.

When I was growing up, I used to love to open the box and see all of my favorite ornaments. The glittery ice cream cones, the salt-dough Santa my aunt made, the puffy plastic (and now, clearly very creepy) boy and girl dolls, the ones I made all on my own and other colorful ones. Then, one year my mom announced she would be getting all new Christmas tree decorations.
It was the eighties, so she decked the tree out in peach and light green to match the decor of the very hip living room in which it always resided. Custom cut ribbons, frosty glass balls in peach, strands of greenish pearls, methodical placement of each piece. It looked beautiful, but certainly wasn't the tree of my childhood.

I get it now. My mom, no doubt, conceded to the crazy tree for all those years, knowing that one day, she could take it back and make it the way she wanted it. Me too. I know the tree is cute and kid-like, and I live in a house full of kids--but really, I long for a sophisticated, well planned and organized tree with a gazillion lights. Knowing my day will come--I will have 20+ years to decorate a tree with no kids (and I will no doubt be wishing our kids were here)--I let it go and enjoy the lopsided, lumpy, almost falling over, ornaments in a pile underneath or hanging in clusters on a few branches of a tree.

They stand back and admire, proud of their work. I am happy they care. The prefect tree doesn't live here--and I am okay with it. At least, for now.

1 comment:

Anne said...

great minds think alike....I have half written blog post about our Christmas Tree traditions that I started this morning! With any luck I'll finish it tonight. Loved hearing about your tree.