It took me a long time to realize my Christmas tree was invisible.
I would spend hours clearing space by the front window, putting away the pictures and non-seasonal objects, retrieving boxes from the garage, then sorting through countless ornaments collected over the years . . .
I’d stop to remember where I got that tiny flamingo with the goofy grin and holiday tie, the Santa posed like a rodeo rider on the back of a dolphin. I’d be thrilled when I opened the box containing construction-paper Rudolph, his crooked mouth penned by a fidgety preschooler. (Rudolph always gets the best spot on the tree.)
Smiling, I would carefully unwrap the crooked candle made of wire and plastic beads, and choke up every time at the tiny stocking labelled “FNU” (FBI-speak for “First Name Unknown”).
I’m one of those people who doesn’t buy boxes of glass balls to fill their tree. Every ornament has a special meaning or memory attached to it. I space them out so each one is properly visible and as I do, I let my mind drift back to when I shared this activity with ones now in Heaven, or those now just too busy.
It’s usually an entire afternoon of nostalgia and sentimentality, and for what? Despite its prominent placement in my front window, no one sees this tree.
Oh, people come over during the holidays and remark that the tree is beautiful. And it is. It’s a colorful, balanced, festive holiday decoration like all the other trees you see on Facebook or in homes you visit during the holidays.
But it’s so much more than “just” a Christmas decoration. It’s a very personal compilation of memories and history, a poignant stroll down memory lane in the company of people and places from my past. True, it’s time-consuming and can be a bit exhausting, but for me, it’s a welcome respite in the throes of a frenetic season. It heals my heart a little.
I’m not offended that you don’t see all this about my tree. I don’t see it about yours, either, and that’s okay.
Some things just can’t be shared (even on social media) . . . they have to be lived.
- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016