Halloween decorations have been in the store for a month or so at least, so I can think about Christmas, right?
I’ve been thinking about Christmas trees. Even though we were really into Christmas when I was growing up, we didn’t always have a Christmas tree. We always had something that represented the tree, it just wasn’t always what you’d expect to see at Christmas time in someone’s a living room.
One year, my Dad brought in a branch from a coconut tree. My sister, Nicky, braided the fronds so that the branch made the shape of a canoe, or a vertical eye. We unpacked our decorations and hung them on the tree just like we would have hung them on a normal evergreen.
One night, we were jarred from a deep slumber by a loud noise in the living room. The thing had fallen off the wall where my dad fastened it.
Another year, my brother came from San Jose, Costa Rica to visit us for Christmas. I think he heard about the palm branch tree and so if it was the last thing he did, he was going to get us a tree. So he and I walked to the grocery store Christmas tree stand, a night or two before Christmas. We scoured the lot for the least pathetic of the trees left over at that late stage. He shouldered it and we hiked a mile and a half back home. I loved that tree. It sort of was reminiscent of the tree in the Peanuts Christmas movie, but I just loved it.
My parents decided one year we would use our massive ficus tree for Christmas. I am pretty sure I complained. But, use it we did. It wasn’t so bad, at least it wasn’t flat and hanging on the wall. I was a teenager at the time and I was so embarrassed, I didn’t want my friends to see it. Looking back, it was pretty cool and inventive.
On it went over the years. When I got married, I was adamant, I was going to have a big beautiful fluffy tree with lots of shimmery things on it. We went out and got this humungous fake tree (it really looked real, I loved it). What I had not counted on was our cats. We spent hours decorating that tree. and then the cats attacked the bottom few feet of it and ruined the whole effect.
One year the cats knocked the tree over. And just as the cats were getting used to the tree, we had kids. For years, no decorations on the bottom few feet of tree. Sigh.
When I thought the kids were old enough to “mind” I decorated the tree just how I wanted it. The kids rearranged it all every.single.day.
Then they started making ornaments from construction paper. Big.massive.splashes of color. And you know what? I loved it. The tree looked like a tree in a house of children and it was awesome.
Now? I don’t even bother. I open up the Christmas decorations, the kids throw them all over the tree in a big flurry of Christmas color, even some construction paper decorations get saved from year to year. And it’s all good. I can’t wait for Christmas.