December 1: Christmas Tree
For as long as I can remember, the arrival of Santa Claus at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has signaled the official start of the Christmas season. But the sure sign that Christmas has arrived at the Totoro household is when the tree is up, ornaments are hung, and white lights are twinkling.
We have always had an artificial tree, even when they did not look real – and even when they were not pre-lit (quite the sore spot for the one in charge of detangling lights each year). However, one year, when I was sixteen and apparently in a rather nostalgic mood, I requested a fresh tree with old-fashioned ornaments. My father indulged my wish for the tree, and my grandmother handmade all the quilted ornaments. It was a memorable celebration that year…. it even snowed as we left church after the Christmas Eve midnight service.
While I admire themed trees, you know… the white tree with the blue balls, the evergreen with red beaded garland and matching bows, the perfect homespun tree with cinnamon sticks and popcorn/cranberry strands… our tree is an eclectic mismatch of vintage ornaments (yes, I am old enough to claim childhood ornaments as vintage), homemade popsicle stick reindeer, and the occasional hallmark keepsake. But each ornament is special – which was made clear this past weekend when my eldest mourned the loss of several broken ornaments due to inefficient packing by yours truly…
The tree may not be the most beautiful … but it is our family’s Christmas history on display for all who enter our home during this festive time of year. Our tree is the cornerstone of the holiday season. Later in the month I will showcase the lights, the ornaments, the tree skirt, and the gifts… but today I honor our perfectly imperfect tree.