Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Infinite Variety of Christmas Trees

I pulled down all off my Christmas boxes before Thanksgiving. I admit it. The busted, brown boxes overcrowded with ornaments that span my life and some that predate my time were all stacked up, forming a fortress in the living room on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

I love Christmas, but it was not holiday joviality that caused me to start working early. It was the irritability that decorating for the holiday generates. I wanted to get it over with before Thanksgiving.

I'm not one of those women who spends a week decorating. (My neighbor is, God love her, and she usually waits until the week before Christmas. At the last minute, her house becomes a photo spread for Southern Living.) If I can't get it done in a day, it's not worth doing. That's my motto in most endeavors. In truth, if my attention is diverted within an hour, it's pretty much all done but the Christmas goose.

That Saturday, I attempted to decorate and clean the house at the same time, a laughable feat, with Christmas music playing until my son decided to use the laptop to play video games while I worked (thanklessly) on the task that he had personally requested, at which point, I began to threaten the very existence of the holiday season. He, fearful that he would not get the coveted Nintendo DS, carefully got the Johnny Matthis "Marshmallow World" going again to drown out mommy's growling, and I finally gave up before the tree was decorated, having discovered that many of the pre-lit lights had suffered in my parents' attic and given up the Christmas ghost.

Later in the week, we had a friend and her child over as well as the neighbors for a tough roast and cold mashed potatoes (because that's how I roll), and I let the two boys decorate the tree, much to the amazement of my friends. As I mentioned, my neighbor has one of those really beautiful white light color coordinated Christmas trees and my friend has always had the same. They've got the really lovely fragile ornaments that children really shouldn't handle.

My tree is not so. First, there's the outed lights. I'm not going around the tree trying to figure out which one is the traitor, so I just wrapped some more (multi-colored) lights around the branches to hide the dim little corpses. Then, there's the selection of ornaments. One, for example, that elicited the comment, "You're really going to put that on the tree?" is a cheap-o stuffed rhinoceros that Fain and I were forced to decorate in pre-school. Yes, it's hideous with its cotton ball Santa beard and felt Christmas vest, but I can't quite bring myself to leave it in the box. There's a puff ball ornament, what I think is meant to be a yellow and blue owl, that belonged to my parents before I was born. It was always one of my favorites because it was so ridiculous.

So the boys hung the ornaments, mostly on the same five lower branches, which I did rectify later, and the tree looks really lovely to me now. Like a quilt or a homemade cookie.

I find myself excited by lunch time at the idea of going home to see my cozy little cottage, warm and full of twinkling lights, like a star in a kaleidoscope. A Christmas tree, whether pristine silver and white perfection or a Charlie Brown fiasco, makes a home feel different. Makes it feel like just the place you want to be at the end of the day.

1 comment:

  1. Absolute awesomeness.

    Melissa ;-P


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A Mirror, A Summer, A Street by Autumn Crisp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.