I woke up this morning and walked through the den to see a ginormous Christmas tree sitting there. My daughter has been in charge of our tree for the past three Christmases.
That is something I had to let go of. She doesn’t remember my past life of the perfect tree. It was artificial, and pre-lit with hundreds of white lights. There was usually a theme for the tree and the house. I had a florist that would arrive shortly after Thanksgiving to decorate.
It had to look good. That was my motto in life. There is a difference between ‘looking good’, and being pretty. We can cause almost anything to look good with enough help, even ourselves, but to be pretty. That is when I just stroll by and something catches my eye for it’s actual being. It’s just there being pretty.
When my daughter and I moved out on our own, we knew holidays, and special occasions were going to look different. I left a lot of things we were used to seeing, especially this time of year. The giant Santa that sat by the front door, elegantly robed in red velvet with precise attention to detail. He was the perfect vision of a Santa, and he cost a small fortune.
I recall walking up to the barn, which housed our Christmas paraphernalia, before we left. I can still feel the sense of overwhelm when thinking about it. Just seeing all this Christmas stuff we had collected for 25 years, laying everywhere. The ginormous tree was laying in three pieces, and looked sad and broken. I drug that tree out to the street for the trash man.
My life at that point and time felt totally trashed. We could make it look pretty with all these things, like we had for years, or I could walk away and begin again. It was time to get real.
My daughter and I started a new tradition by going to a Christmas tree farm for our tree. The house and life we had was all new, so choosing the right tree was a challenge. I still recall the look on her face when she found our tree. After walking the field for what seemed like forever, she came upon what she thought was a big, fluffy tree. It was actually two of them.
Two trees had clung to each other while growing, and they had grown together. The guy at the tree farm thought we were crazy for sure when we asked him to cut them both down.
They gave us a really good deal on the trees because it was obvious they weren’t completely whole by themselves, but together they were pretty amazing. That is how I saw our new life.
Last Christmas is a blur to me. I’m sure we had a tree because we looked for a very long time to find one. My daughter didn’t find one she liked at the farm last year. We were walking into the grocery store, and one was standing out front sorta alone. She looked at it again on the way out, but kept walking to the truck. Needless to say, we went back to get it.
My mother passed away last December, so we drove to North Carolina to be with family.
That within itself was an enormous adventure, and with it being Christmastime, it felt completely out of the norm. I don’t remember much about last Christmas because we were not home, but this one will be different. We are home, and she found her perfect tree at the farm. Again, walking the field, but this time in the rain, and wind, she eventually found it.
Let’s just say, “Thank God I drive a truck.”
This tree takes up half our den in width. I had to let go of my ideas, to embrace my daughter’s creativity. The size and shape didn’t matter as long as I could get it through the front door. This only happens once a year, so I let her run with it. I’ve never had a tree like this before, and she chose a theme that I was unsure of at first.
Cool white LED lights is what she chose. I was used to soft white, but let it go. She chose this garland that is way too much fun. It looks like strips of iridescence, glitter and taffeta.
Then she saw the icicles. I had rather dark memories of icicles, so I steered clear of them until now. They are messy, and yes, I see some this morning on the hardwood floor. I’ve been picking them up and throwing them on the tree like, “Here, these belong to you.”
I spent years with no glitter in my house because of the mess it made. The same with the icicles. My daughter was gazing at the tree lastnight, admiring her handiwork, as the heat started blowing through the vent above.
She said, “I love the way the icicles sparkle when the air hits them.” This year is different, but it sure is pretty. I hope you have lots of glitter.