Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Tree Tales

Last year, our first year in our new house, I thought I wanted to switch up our Christmas tree. I thought wanted something less colorful. Something with lots more white, with pine cones maybe. Our tree suddenly seemed garish to me in our new space, a little tacky or kitschy.  But the kids would have none of it. And besides, I didn't have the money to switch it up anyway.

By the time we were trimming it last Thanksgiving, I realized the error in my thinking. Christmas trees, like most things in life, should serve a greater purpose than being a fashion statement.

I distinctly remember gathering the things for our very first Christmas tree. Sena was nine months old, and I had saved a hundred dollar gift certificate to Pier 1 my aunt had given me for my wedding. With Sena in the sling, we ventured out on our own, which didn't happen very often. I usually did everything with my mom, then as now. But my mom had just bought a house in North Carolina, and she was busy doing all the things that are involved in buying (and most importantly, decorating) real estate.  Anyhow, Sena and I went shopping and made what felt like very important design decisions, just the two of us.

I was really proud of myself. I was proud of the pink and turquoise ribbon and the brass star. I was proud of all the bright wood and felt ornaments, proud of the glass bulbs I later found at K-Mart. I was 20 years old, and it felt like the most adult thing I had ever done, and I had done it without second guessing myself.

None of this is particularly significant, but you couldn't have convinced me of that at the time. I was setting the tone for my family's future holidays.

Every year, each of the kids gets an ornament to add to the tree. Buying those ornaments might be the part of Christmas shopping that I put the most thought into. The year we went to Paris, that's where Sena's ornament came from. Gus got a carved shark back when every book we read was about those scary, beautiful beasts of the sea. I'd be lying if I pretened that I didn't try to find ornaments that fit with the style of our tree. The tone I set that first Christmas stays with us. The tree tells our story, and our story is important to me. Tradition is important to me, more important to me than creative change.

So our tree remains bright and full of jewel tones and memories. It might not be the tree I would pick now if I was starting fresh. But that's the moral of the story. I'm not. I already have a half written story, and there is no need to change it.

1 comment:

  1. It's so cute, cheery and bright. I love the little banjo! (wrote banjoy first, that's kind of appropriate.) And I love the moral of this story. Exactly why every year my tree just gets more and more full of ornaments (I also inherited most of our families' old ones because I'm the one who cares the most) and why I can't leave off a single one of those little guys. They each seem a tiny bit like family to me.