Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!

It's been my job, and my pleasure, to decorate the Christmas tree since I was six or seven. There's something comforting about selecting an ornament, recalling its history and putting it in a place of honor. There have been years that it was painful, such as the year after my Dad's death, and years when it was joyous, such as my childrens' first Christmases. When I was small, during the holiday season, I would lie under the Christmas tree looking up through the branches at the lights and dreaming of the things all children hold dear. I remember the smells of fresh pine and bayberry candles, fudge-the real deal beaten with a wooden spoon, cooling on a plate and beating fondant unto a white mass of gooey sweetness. There have been years of sadness as well, but it's the sadness that carves out space for more joy.

We've made concessions over the years. We used to go to East Texas and cut down trees with the kids, but they have moved away to school and none of us really have time to spare for an entire weekend trip, although I wish we did. We also have a fake tree because frankly, the scenes I have seen of tree fires have scared me to death! One concession I haven't made is on ornaments. Ours is not a designer tree, which chichi matching ornaments and just so garland and white lights. Sorry. Ours is a hodge podge of handmade and collected ornaments-most of which that I can't bear to give away. There are the collected ornaments that my kids have gotten every year. We have alot of cars and puppies and angels on our tree. There are also handmade ornaments from when our kids were small. I just can't give away or toss out the lovingly made wooden clothespin reindeer or the trees trimmed with glitter. And then there's the star. The first Christmas we were married, there just wasn't money for a tree. So we found one on Christmas Eve that a company threw out at the end of the day. We bought cheap ornaments at Pier One and I illustrated a star for the top. We still use the star. It's ragged and torn, but like every other ornament it holds our memories, good, bad and all the areas in between.

So how do you decorate your tree? It's really a very individual task. I use tiny ribbons to tie on the ornaments because I hate those nasty wire hooks. Here are some more questions-
-Star or Angel on top of the tree?
-White lights or multicolored?
-Constantly glowing lights or blinking?
-Different color ornaments or the same?
-Garland or icicles?
-Lights going around the tree or up and down?

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1 comment:

Darren said...

I have ornaments from my childhood, ornaments from my "singlehood", ornaments from becoming a new father, ornaments for my son, and ornaments representing places we've been.

Wouldn't trade any of them for all the tea in China--which is probably where my fake tree was made!