Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Chrismas Tree

Once upon a time, my family thought perhaps I wished to make Martha Stewart look like a slacker. But perfection is neither my goal nor authentic to my personality.

Part of my passion for Christmas decorating is rebellion. Growing up, my father always chose a tree so embarrassingly scraggly, it would have shamed Charlie Brown to be seen with it. If such things were held, it could have easily won the contest for worst tree in the city. In today's dollars, dad probably paid $1.99 for the whole thing.

In contrast, his brother, Uncle Frank, was totally impractical about the Christmas Tree. He not only bought an extravagant tree- tall enough to reach the ceiling and flocked. One year, after the holiday, the men went outside with their shotguns and shot off all the ornaments. I envied Frank's family.

However, I didn't wish to start anew each holiday. For me, a Christmas tree should be hung with memories.

It is a gift to have a husband who understood my primal desire to decorate tree. Even though he doesn't quite understand the obsession.

Gerry loves the scent of a fresh tree. Pine makes me sneeze and sent the vacuum annually to the repair shop to recover from the holidays. Until the year Gerry came home from a business trip to find standing in the living room a lavishly pre-lit fresh cut Christmas tree from Roger's Gardens. 1,000 white lights is an elegant start.

But I am more cheery than elegant. Woven up and down each arm of the tree, 900 colored mini bulbs additionally adorn the boughs with the magic of color.

Our first Christmas together, I bought beriboned pine cones to hang on the tree. My new husband had difficulty comprehending his bride would pay for what could be found on the ground. I couldn't believe that he thought anything which would look so natural hanging on a tree was anything but smart.

Every year since, a few ornaments have been added.

Some are homemade. The hanging ornament Gerry made is precious even though it was fashioned from scrap.

The pickle ornament sparks competitive joy. There is a special gift for the family member who spots it when we exchange family gifts. Even though the gift might be just extra candy as a reward doesn't make the ritual less fun.

A ship in the bottle- so fragile- so imaginative- what could be more romantic?

Santa as a fisherman, bears kissing, snowflakes falling- every decoration has meaning profoundly personal. Which makes the tree decidedly romantic. A perfect symbol of my favorite type of Christmas.

Please share about your Christmas tree. In your fantasies, how would you decorate it? What would you like visitors to learn about you from the Christmas tree of your dreams?

1 comment:

  1. Lydia,
    You lovely post about your tree and ornaments have renewed my enthusiasm for decorating ours.
    In all these married years I have been somewhat depressed as I decorated our tree. As newlyweds John and I would go shopping for a tree. I wanted to have one like my mother bought, beautifully flocked! He wanted an old fashion plain green one. We argued as we shopped! I usually won but it was a hollow victory as he would then have to leave for work and there I was alone decorating it. I remember once Art Herrera came over while I was decorating it and I was in tears! As the years went by I grew up and let John have what he wanted and what I have come to love and appreciate and that is an old fashioned green tree!
    Each year on Christmas morning the boys unwrap their special ornament from dad. John always goes out and looks for the special, personal one for each son. We have ones with babies with all four boys with their names, then individual ones with just each son's name. We have airplanes, space shuttles, Yellow Cabs and now 18-wheelers (these are John III's). We have Ferrari's, law ones, chef ones (for Eric). Musical instruments for each son. Police ones for Daryl and computer ones for Kevin.
    They are all special and all precious. I even have ones that the boys made for me while in kindergarten!
    We have all colors, some very fancy and some plain balls but many many meaningful and special ornaments.
    Dad does put on the lights with my help then I am usually on my own. I also love the gold tensile!
    This year as I decorate the tree I will stop thinking how lonely I used to be and how I am usually doing the job by myself but will remember why each ornament is there and the special memories behind them. God has greatly blessed me and I should be and am so grateful.

    Thank you Lydia for that.
    Hugs, Trisha
    p.s. Also thank you for your kind offer to help me! :):)


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