Trees full of memories

We had an artificial tree when we were first married, but switched back to real trees. Christmas trees always made their way into our home, but they were never the same: huge and perfectly shaped, short and misshapen, or just average; it depended on the moment. One year money was tight and we decided not to get one, but Christmas Eve we found a lot closing out and spent only five dollars. The next few years we waited again, even found a free one.

One year our son and his friend found a gorgeous, perfect, large (read that fat) tree. After a family discussion back at the house, we went back, splurged and bought it. (Now, our son and I knew to bring up things like uncalled for splurges when Leon was distracted and what better time than to ask his opinion when he was at home with a fellow actor rehearsing for a play.) (Oh, Hi, Leon. Would we do that?) The tree was too wide to fit comfortably in our house, so we kept it on the screened porch. Was it loved anymore than the scrawny odd shaped ones I had bought a few times just because? No, because it wasn't inside, although we spent a lot of time on the porch; but yes, because we splurged big time.

We normally had a hodge podge of ornaments, each with meaning, but for a few years when our son was older we had red lights, red wood 'cranberries', and little red apples instead, but we reverted to the 'memory' ornaments.

As empty nesters in a new city, we didn't bother with a traditional tree. I made one of dowels and hung just a few ornaments on it with fake cranberries, no lights. Leon strung lights in the shape of a tree on our back porch. I loved my little countrified dowel tree, (won't vouch for Leon, though) but I missed the 'family' ornaments.

Out here, we moved into an attached apartment on Christmas Eve and our landlord left a small Norfolk pine decorated with a few ornaments on the mantel above the fireplace and invited us to their family dinner on Christmas Day. They were so kind. It was our first year without family. I think it was only the joy of the cross country adventure that carried us through that Christmas.

We didn't put up a tree last year and turned down the invitation for Christmas Day dinner, but went to walk down by the river and take pictures and revel in our good fortune of chancing a cross country move and having been right! We went home and cooked our traditional dinner, just a bit less.

But this year we bought a beautiful artificial tree -- that we have to take back. I am really sensitive to chemicals and putting my face in it to spread all the little branches apart, well, let's just say they don't go together. It smells like lightweight motor oil. So. . .

. . . tomorrow I will finally cut and dry fit the copper pipe tree I designed last year, -- for Leon to sweat together. Then I am digging out all our family ornaments, the more memories the better.

By the way, I found out today that in Mexico many decorate Agave trees instead of traditional trees. Fellow writer and blogger, Chris, has a beautiful one decorated family style, full of memories.

And memories are a tradition we can keep anywhere, anytime, any holiday.


Chris said...

I enjoyed, a lot, reading how your Christmas memories have evolved. It is all about traditon and memories. I bought some tangerines today and when I peeled the first one (I ate three, one right after the other they were soooo good) the fragrance took me back to my childood in Canada when fresh fruit was at a premium price and a big treat at Christmas time and I could almost hear my father's laugh as he uncrated the tangerines on Christmas Eve. Yikes, I'm going to cry with nostalgia.