It is our tree, an eight-foot fiber optic fir, which holds my gaze. My daughter describes the tree as radioactive (minus the science fiction green Day-Glo luminescence) because it undulates with soft multi-colored lights in waves all about itself. But this fake fir with its technological advances holds, within its boughs, ornaments crafted by the small fingers of my children when they were young, paper cutout decorations with pictures of smiling faces in them, and special trinkets that tell the stories of Christmases past.
Nowadays, so many residential Christmas trees are color-coordinated with matching decorations. They are stylized in the fashion of department store window displays devoid of character and sentimental value. They are coiffed with not a ribbon, bow, or ornament out of place. And I think to myself, “When did this become the trend?” When did people stop decorating their trees with construction paper chains, hand made ornaments, and children’s arts and crafts from classroom projects and family creative time? What happened to the type of tree describe in Truman Compote’s A Christmas Memory? (I highly recommend this book.)
There are all types of Christmas trees for all types of people. I believe the tree reflects the family culture. Trees tell you something about the people who decorated them. Our tree speaks volumes. You merely have to look at it to see the stories tucked in among the branches. One such story is told in the form of a picture. It depicts a tired looking Santa awkwardly holding my unhappy son on his lap. My son was six years old. Or the story found in an old family Christmas card. In the picture, the faces smile back at you, as you see our family standing around a 3 ½ foot snowman made out of sand. It took us all day to build. Then there are all the misshapen candy canes, elves, trains, stars and decorations telling the story of our family sitting down to make ornaments, and along with them holiday traditions.
I finish my tea and rise to shut the windows. The holidays bring memories wrapped in the excitement of the present moment, nestled in the anticipation of what the future may bring. Our Christmas tree, a sentinel at the threshold of the change from old to new, emits a warm, soothing glow. Walking past it I think to myself, “Yes, all is well in this moment.”
from Chelse (Lae Lae team)