I do not understand theme Christmas trees. I know people, people I love, who change their tree every year.
I don't get it.
First of all, looking at this particular one, I can't even detect the presence of a tree. There might be one lone needle showing. There. To the right. See it?
The first thing I'm going to mention is that having been a buried pagan my entire life, and a not so buried one now, the tree is important. It's life. In your house. Even a plastic one is a perfectly acceptable representation of the green goodness that the planet provides for us.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, bless all yer hearts, but what on earth compels people to change their tree every year? Aside from the expense, where does it leave your heritage?
I was standing in front of the tree today, and as I looked at the ornaments I could remember the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of each one. Nothing really matches. It's a giant hodge-podge (this is the first time I've ever typed that phrase. Basking in it) of my last 38 years here.
If some moron assigned a theme to it they would probably call it, "eclectic," or some other such nonsense. I hang candy canes every year, because really, the idea of plucking candy randomly from a giant tree in my home makes me happy. To be honest, this is the first year in about forever that the tree has been taller than myself. I do have enough ornaments for the frigging thing if I were to pull out the fragile ones packed away in plastic bins, but they aren't toddler friendly. I have not used really fragile ones in years. Clancy used to climb the tree too. Brought it down more than once.
So the front and sides are adorned, and the back against the wall is not. This year the tree is so tall that our colored lights, while they did manage to stretch from the top to the bottom, were skimpy looking when I plugged them in. So I wrapped our white lights in between the colored. Good to go. Because Livvie begged for every pink foil and silver foil tree she saw, I bought silver garland at Family Dollar and wound that around the tree as well. We used silver garland instead of tinsel every year when I was a kid, and each year it would be carefully packed away for reuse the next year. When I removed the garland from the packages this year I saved the cardboard flats they were wrapped around. Mom taught me right.
My grandmother had three of these sheet music ornaments on her tree. This is the last surviving one. It has tiny seed beads glued to it that keep falling off over the years. If they ever all come off I'll redo the whole thing. I think this ornament is about 50-60 years old. I place it up high on the tree despite its size in order to keep it safe. This particular one is Silent Night, and I'll tell you what... when we were only having one kid the idea of passing it on was a lot easier to imagine. Now I'll have to figure out where it goes.
One year I couldn't find Independence Hall, and I nearly lost it. Each of them gets packed carefully each year now so I don't come unglued again.
Each of those three places is incredibly special in my life, and seeing them every winter makes me all kinds of warm and fuzzy.
To his right is a tiny bell and glass police officer my mom bought me a couple of years back. She meant it, she said, as an homage to my dad. Sometimes it mocks me because I'm not allowed into the force, being all crazy and whatnot.
You know, there hasn't been much in the way of romantical lately. Unless you count him asking the folks at McDonald's to make my Quarter Pounder with Cheese onion-free with no prompting from me. Seriously, those onion chunks are vile.
So I bought her this.
It doesn't look a thing like her.
She's way cuter.
But it stays.
Our first Christmas together Rich and I were poor. Even more poor than now, which is crazy considering we now have two kids. He owned the bait shop, and one day I went in on my day off from work and bought some bobbers from him, actually paid for them, and took them home and threaded them onto paper clips. It didn't occur to me to go to the mall and have something made. I hung them on our first tree. They have been on every tree for the past 5 years. If anything ever happens to those bobbers I'll be crushed. I could buy a pack of ornament hooks, but I really don't want to. The paperclips will remain forever.
Livvie is also in lust with popcorn, and informed me the other day that the popcorn ornament belongs to her.
That's fine. I'm keeping the beer and the TV.
The cats used to snag him every year and bat him around the house. Every January I would have to search under appliances and furniture to find him again.
I miss that.
In the meantime, his name is Gerald. Livvie hasn't spotted him yet.
The other day at Family Dollar she gasped and said, "Rainbow stars!!!" I looked to my right and saw a pack of 4 ornaments for $1.50. They're plastic. They were probably made in China. I forgot to look. All I know is that for $1.50 I could finally give my kid rainbow stars. They will be carefully put away each year. She has about a billion and one ornaments already, but these were the first she chose herself.
That idea might be doable someday.
I will always, though, decorate with the full chaos of my past.
I just don't see the fun in any other way.