For a week I’ve been seeing beautiful christmas trees flood my instagram feed. I’ve been especially drawn to those stuck in a galvanized bucket with white lights. Simple, natural, beautiful.
Last year with traveling during the holidays we didn’t put up a tree, so I was especially looking forward to it. Been under the weather this week and finally got the energy to go out and get food and on impulse swung by Lowe’s and picked out a 5′ tree that was small enough I could carry with one hand. I really needed a pick me up. Just the thought of my house smelling like pine made me feel better. When Kevin got home, I had it set up in our keeping room with a single strand of color lights blinking for extra shock value.
Saturday morning we brought down ALL the boxes, I turned on the sappy Christmas channel on pandora, made another cup of coffee and set out to find strands of white lights.
Every year I think “I’ve got way too many Christmas boxes. I need to go through these and donate things I don’t use or want anymore, how do I have so much Christmas stuff, why do I have so much Christmas stuff” Any of this sound familiar at your house? But this year I really am going to do something about it.
My thoughts were, I would go through all the ornaments and sort them into boxes. I wanted to pick out the boys ornaments and put in a gift box under the tree for them to have. And then go through the rest of my ornaments and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
On our tree this year, I was going to put old vintage ornaments with big white lights. I had a pom pom “ribbon” that was white that I decided to tea dye to tone it down. It had great potential for a garland. My plans were sounding really good and I had the white lights on and Kevin walked in and said, what no colored lights. Nope it’s going to be a pretty tree this year.
This all came to a screeching halt when I opened the first box of ornaments. On top of the ornaments, lay the boy’s santa and elf hats they always put on first thing when we decorate the tree. They weren’t here to wear them.
I started sorting the ornaments, holding each one in my hand recalling who made it and tucked it into their box. Reminiscing on years past.
I had a few ornaments in both their boxes when I came across the first one with a picture on it.
Exactly the same time “December”…a favorite song from my all time favorite Christmas album came on Pandora. Amazing words.
I can only explain that I became engulfed in emotions. It occurred to me that this is the first year both the boys are gone that I’m left decorating the tree alone.
I swam around in these emotions for a while till I decided this wouldn’t do. I changed the channel to Chicago and I dug out those colored lights, and I started putting the boys handmade ornaments on our tree. They look so beautiful!! They still belong there! I have the rest of my life to have a “pretty” tree why rush it.
I remember the first time I wasn’t home to decorate the tree with mom. I also remember the first time mom had a “pretty tree”. I said where are all our ornaments. She said I wanted to have a pretty tree this year.
You know, it had never dawned on me until then that it wasn’t a pretty tree. I knew what she meant, we all do. But really it shouldn’t be that way! It really shouldn’t. I finished decorating our tree without shedding too many more tears.. It won’t get lots of likes on instagram or Facebook or impress our friends.
But our tree is decorated with branches full of memories. And that is the most beautiful tree there can be.
PS: Next year we are putting it up Thanksgiving when the boys are home.
PS 2: Kevin rarely if ever reads a blog post before I post it, but this one he did. With tears in his eyes he told me he never wants a “pretty tree”.