The branches can almost fool me as I gaze at them from across the room. Yet another Christmas with a fake Christmas tree and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a child I’d anticipate opening the attic door and smelling the mix of must, dust, and a myriad of other unidentifiable scents that mingled in the space over our porch. The tree was older, larger, and well loved. We’d carry it down the stairs bit by bit and eventually deck it out with all the normal trimmings.
I don’t remember much about the stringing of the lights, but the ornaments are burned into my memory. Ours was a tree that would never be featured in any decorating catalog. Replete with handmade school crafts and mementos from my parents’ travels abroad the tree told a story in which every ornament was a chapter.
Of course there were the “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments (years 1985 and 1987) which always caused a small disagreement as I had two ornaments and my brother only had one. I always told him it was because I was the firstborn. And a girl. Don’t worry, he got me back when he became a Marine and he gets an 11×14 picture of himself on my dad’s mantel whilst my family and I get a mere 4×6. (no resentment here…no, really, it’s all in jest, but I digress). The few antique ornaments hang high above where little hands can reach them. They refract the lights creating beams of red, yellow, and blue. My obsessive self makes sure they hang in the order of the Christmas story–the shepherds first, the nativity second, and the wise men third. We can’t have things out of order now, can we?
A golden Rudolph hangs, his bright red nose sparkling. He was a gift from my sitter when I was younger reminding me of days spent playing and the many excuses I used to think up to try to negotiate naptime. There are macaroni picture frames and handprints traced.
I stood in the aisle this Christmas at Wal-Mart and survey the many many different ornament sets…brights, chocolates, all white–part of me wants the pretty tree, the picturesque one with the matching ornaments, but where’s the story in that? Instead I’m going to have my tree with its handmade clashing colors and mismatched ornaments that each tell a chapter, a story.
What story does your tree tell?