For the first time in years (I think since 2000 when I went to Australia for Christmas), I did not put up a Christmas tree. I am surprisingly okay without one. Why no tree? Well, my pre-lit tree is an old one and a strand of lights no longer works. For the past two years, I have been annoyed looking at it. This year I decided it was time to buy a new tree. One thing after another took precedence over the tree, so now I've decided I should just wait for them to be on clearance after the holidays. I want a 7 foot multi-colored tree. The all white ones are pretty, but I kind of like the hint of garishness that goes with Christmas. For me, it's not about an elegantly trimmed tree; it's about a tree packed with ornaments that evoke memories.
I love my ornaments. I have ornaments from many years of travelling. A wooden kangaroo from Australia, a gold leafed maple leaf from Canada, some wooden trains from Germany, lovely red paper ornaments from Denmark, tiny mittens from Estonia, little boots made from reindeer skin from Sweden...and on and on. Sometimes I'll buy a piece of jewelry on a trip and turn that into an ornament. I also have some quirky and homespun ornaments from my sister Linnea's tree that I claimed when she passed away. I treasure a beaded star from the year my mama and Linnea made dozens of beaded ornaments for the family tree. Oh, and the ceramic bear that Parker and Landon painted for me when they were 3 and 6. It's heavy, so I have to put it on the bottom, tucked near the trunk. Near the top of my tree sits a small plastic angel that adorned our tree when I was growing up. I can't verify its origins, but I like to think it was my grandmother's. It's not large enough to be a tree topper, but I use it as one.
I'm lucky that Christmas, for me, evokes happy, warm, joyous memories. I know for many it is bittersweet--full of unfulfilled expectations of family peace and love.
I'll be with my sisters at Christmas. Annette's brood is coming home to roost, so from Friday 'til Sunday it will be delightful chaos. That night I'll drive to Loene's for our all day movie-fest the day after Christmas.
May you have a Merry and Bright holiday. I can't wait!