Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Tree Memories

Putting up the Christmas tree has never been my favorite task. In fact, next to taking it down, it’s one of my least favorites. I confess: I’m not a fan of Christmas. Not that I don’t love the carols and lights and even the gifts. But our family and friends have bought in to the American dream Christmas—lots of gifts, lots of entertaining, lots of money, and lots of time. And in the process, I think we miss the Reason for the season. I know that my problem is that I run so fast in my normal life that adding the demands of Christmas stretches my energy and as I get older, my health. So I think that the task of putting up the tree is symbolic of all I dislike about the season.

When DS was living with us, he loved decorating the tree and from the time he was old enough to help, he took on more and more of the responsibility. But now he’s gone and it hardly seems worth the effort. Except that he and dear DIL are coming home for Christmas and they will appreciate it. And expect it.

But this year, I took time to reflect on the meaning of the ornaments—the memories—and the task became so much more tolerable. We’ve always decorated only with ornaments that have special meaning. In the early years my dear MIL made most of our ornaments. She was a crafty one and every year had a new project – needlepoint, beading, lace, wood. She did good work and our tree always had a unique look to it. As I hung those on tree, I thought of her and all she did for us. Yes, sometimes she was annoying, but her heart was good and we miss her. After her death we inherited the traditional ball ornaments that she used on her tree. I had always steadfastly avoided purchased balls, but these are from the 40s and 50s. They remind me of ornaments we had on my childhood tree. Now they hold places on honor on the tree. Memories.

When DS was little, we made a photo ornament of him every year. As I carefully placed them on the tree, I remembered the joy and delight of my little one. He was so cute! Memories. Then came the vacation souvenirs. The reindeer from Montana; the whale from Hawaii; the ceramic animals and straw angels from Mexico; the turtle from the Cayman Islands…. Each one brought back fond memories of precious family times.

Last came the nativity scene. I placed it in its place of honor beneath the tree, surrounded by dozens of angels. Most of the angels also have a story. There are the small fabric angels from a church tea I used to attend. There are the lace angels made by dear MIL. And the lighted porcelain angel that MIL gave me the last year she was with us. So many memories….

We finished the tree, turned down the room lighting, and turned on the tree lights. The little white lights that remind me of Disneyland. The tree almost sang of love and memories Ah, Christmas….

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1 comment(s):

Ah, Christmas You said it all.

I just put up a little tree this year. All my son's homemade stuff would not fit on it. So I have them around it and hanging on the wall beside it. In small bare spots I put a red ribbon. It looks good. Or it will pass anyway. :)

By Blogger karen, at 6:23 PM  

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