We finally put up our Christmas tree yesterday. When I was a child, my dad would usually wait until the last minute to get our fresh balsam fir tree and wrestle it into its stand in a corner of the basement. We kids waited impatiently while my perfectionist father strung the lights just so. Then we lined up to be handed strands of tinsel, which we were instructed to hang one by one around the tree. Only when the tree was brilliant with lights and tinsel would we be allowed to place the ornaments on the tree.
Nowadays, we don’t have much of an excuse for waiting so long to put up the tree. My father could justify his procrastination with a desire to keep the tree from getting too brittle. Our tree, however, is artificial. Somehow, though, the weekends after Thanksgiving go by in a blur until I am finally able to badger my husband and sons into getting the tree up from the basement.
Our Christmas tree would never make the cover of House Beautiful. Some of the branches hang too low, and the lights are out in various spots. There is also no theme to our tree decorations. They consist of all different kinds of ornaments collected over the years: gifts from others, souvenirs from trips, post-Christmas sale finds, and most special to me, the ornaments I have picked out every year for each of my four children since they were born.
When I finally corral my busy teens and twentysomethings into the living room to help decorate the tree, our time is filled with laughter as the kids recall each ornament, joking about some of the “ugly” ones they always hide in the back of the tree and teasing each other about their little faces in the picture frame ornaments I gave them one year. They find and hand me the special Precious Moments ornament “Our First Christmas Together 1988,” commemorating the year my husband and I got married. One year, one of the kids accidentally dropped and shattered that keepsake, and I was crushed. That Christmas, my husband presented me with an identical, brand new version of that Precious Moments ornament. If you have kept up with my blogs, you’ll know I cried.
Some day, each of my children will take all their special ornaments and (I hope) use them to decorate their own Christmas trees. For now, though, I will enjoy our far from perfect, yet perfectly lovely, Christmas tree.