Last night we did one of my favorite things from the holidays: decorated the tree and put out Christmas.
We were late in getting this done this year because of the Catastrophic Hot Water Heater Failure of 2016 and its ensuing mess that took over our lives and my living room for 2 weeks.
Picture the huge, undecorated tree standing in the corner of the living room, surrounded by every single thing from three bedrooms and four closets. Yeah. It was as bad as you are imagining. That’s how we started December.
To be honest, when it comes time to trim the tree I am usually a bit grinchy about it. Life is just busy and there is so much stuff I have to deal with on a daily basis that the thought of dragging out MORE stuff makes me feel a bah-humbugish. But once we get started I love it.
I don’t love it because of the stuff, I love it it because of the people. I love it because of the memories attached to almost every piece of that ‘stuff’.
Our tree is not fancy, in fact it’s rather shabby. It’s full of homemade ornaments made by fat sticky little fingers. It’s covered in glued paper crafts and salt dough angles with names written in mirror image by children just learning to write.
Not only is it covered in my family’s memories, it has items from my grandmother (several boxes of glass balls that are from the 50s) as well as many Swedish ornaments given to us by Dave’s mom. I have panted burlap pictures that were Dave’s Swedish grandmothers as well as quilted wall hangings made by my aunt. I have my childhood stocking and many silly ornaments from recent ornament exchanges with my side of the family. Once we get started and I see all this ‘stuff’ it makes me happy because attached to each is a memory of someone I love.
All this is made even sweeter by the fact that the whole family was there to help. Dave and I, the girls, Gunnar and Kaytlin, and even Bryce and Haleigh were able to come over to help. That was a treat. It’s so nice when your kids who are grown and on their own want to come home (and are close enough to do so!). Dave’s mom was also here. The last several years she has joined in on our Christmas tree trimming. I think she misses doing this in her own house. It’s fun to have her because she remembers so many of the ornaments too.
This year our tree trimming party was not fancy. I was gone working or running errands all day and did not get home until almost 5. We had store bought pizza and salad for dinner. We didn’t have cider or hot chocolate or Christmas cookies. There was just no time for that this year unfortunately. But what I did have was my whole little family in my living room decorating the tree and being sassy and sarcastic and laughing and joking and singing to the Christmas music while reminiscing of Christmases past while we prepared for this next coming Christmas.
I know these days are fleeting. The kids will all grow up and move out, get married, and start their own families with their own traditions. I won’t always have every one of them able to come and participate on our family traditions and I know this. I think that is why nights like last night are so special.
I couldn’t love my shabbily decorated Christmas tree any more, because of the hands that put it up and the memories hanging on it.