Thursday, December 9, 2010
The Tree and me
The weekend of Thanksgiving has become the much-anticipated time when we put up The Tree. It is so sacred and important in my children's lives that, yes, it deserves to be capitalized. If it were within Hannah's power to declare the day a national holiday, rest assured it would happen.
Over the years our tree has evolved from a poor, starving student tree containing only a few ornaments (most of those handmade) to a rich, ornament laden tree that is full of memories. Each ornament tells a story of Christmases past. They've seen the babies come, and looked down each year, watching as we've grown. Each and every one has silently witnessed us rub sleep out of our eyes on Christmas morning, and heard the squeals of joy after wrapping paper is torn.
I cherish all these ornaments with a slightly uncharacteristic attachment.
There are ornaments that I don't remember acquiring, but love nonetheless. Like these chunky, carved wooden candy canes.
There are ornaments that I DO remember getting, like this treasure brought home by my-then little kindergartner:
This year's favorite addition was a set containing all the main characters from Peter Pan, including the notorious Captain Hook:
And my personal favorite (and doppelganger), The Croc:
(Because I frequently walk around the house, eyes bugged, tongue wagging, and toting an alarm clock. What?)
Some of our ornaments really ought to be thrown out (and have actually won Ugliest Ornament Contests in the past. Celia, doing it again this year?). We have the baby Jesus eraser, eternally slumbering with his ball-point pen face:
And probably the truest ugly on the tree is the Star of David made out of straws. Somehow, I am sure this ornament offends Christians and Jews alike, but I can't bring myself to part with it. It makes me laugh too hard each year when it comes out of the box:
Slightly more tolerable (but just as ugly) is our disturbingly vast collection of wood colored nativities from the preschool days:
Yet somewhere in the middle of all the homespun ugly are ornaments that I love. Ornaments that have adorned our tree since our very first Christmas together. Like this one, brought back from Austria by the Husband's parents:
And this hand-carved rendition of that sacred first night:
And this one, hand-stitched by an awesome sister-in-law:
At the end of the day, I think our tree is a lot like me. Fatally flawed, pretty ugly in some spots, but greater than the sum of its parts. When put together properly, with the right lighting, it looks pretty damn good.