Paul V, Mama Rosa and I decorated our tree this year. It is not our traditional Christmas tree; it is a huge Cypress in our front yard. It is not even shaped like a Christmas tree. Yes, it is an outdoor tree. No, we do not have one in our home this year.
2011 was a catalytic Christmas for me. After 34 years of selecting the perfect tree from the Christmas Tree lot, spending hours perfectly decorating it (in the eyes of the beholder, of course), and doing the squint test to make sure that the lights were perfectly spaced throughout the tree, I met a tree that would not die. It was my first tree that continued to drink through January. Even when I undecorated it, the leaves were still soft. It was as though that tree wanted to live. I moved it outdoors and it stayed green through February. Guilt settled over me for the entire month and I wrestled with the problem throughout this year. What to do.
My husband had always avoided tree decorating at all costs. He did not like having a tree in the house. When I mentioned to him the idea of decorating one of our yard trees as our Christmas tree, he was not only elated – he actually helped me decorate! He was so thankful to be free of the tree mess and the anxiety of watching the creative decorating process that we celebrated afterwards with a bottle of Messina Hof Sparkling Almond.
Tree 2012 is probably the homeliest tree you have seen, the exact opposite of “perfectly decorated”, but it is the most fun we have had at tree trimming time in 35 years AND the tree seems to be pretty proud of its new decor! In order to enjoy all of the fragile sentimental ornaments we have collected over the years, I just added them to the garland on the staircase. It is actually easier to see them now and to enjoy the memories they bring.
It is amazing how many different meanings thankful in all circumstances can reflect. I would have never given up my annual tree if it had not been for Tree 2011. And now I know how much family fun I missed in the first 34 years of tree trimming time. It just keeps getting better!
Merry Christmas and enjoy your family.