It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I came home from a meeting the other night and walked into the living room. Instead of my fake ficus tree shining next to the mantle, a Christmas tree glittered with a red, green, yellow and blue tinge. Ornaments were carefully placed on the limbs and garland silhouetted the fireplace and doors. Stockings were hung and Christmas-y bears and snowmen adorned the room.

Outside, the town graciously put up its decorations on the poles. This year I was given a snowflake. In past years I’ve had an angel or candy cane.

The temperature dipped below freezing all day and a light white spritz was falling. Christmas music is starting to overtake the airwaves.

Ah, it’s beginning to look and feel like Christmas!

The tree was a pleasant surprise. It looked good. As I sat in my chair I couldn’t help but remember the evolution of that tree. You already heard the story of  the tree in the convertible, but Karen and I had a long relationship with Christmas trees over the years.

When we were first married, we always had a freshly cut tree … or at least as fresh as could be. Our trees were always of modest size and, after I put it up, she would spend hours getting it “just right.” It wasn’t unusual for her to get up from the couch and re-arrange garland or move an ornament.

That all ended the Christmas of 1976.  Karen and I would always go together to pick out the tree and, of course, when the kids started coming along, they were in tow. But in 1976, just my oldest son and I went on the Christmas tree quest. And we really found the perfect Scotch pine. It was picture perfect … until we got it home. You, see, the trunk had a decided S curve, undetected by its stance and full branch cover. But when we attempted to put it up in the house, the S curve would cause it to list to the right, to the left, forward or backward.

I fought with that tree for hours. Every time I thought I had it right, the second we started to put on a decoration, down it would come. On that fateful day, the tree spent more time on its side than upright. And wife would come into the living room, give me one of her stares, shake her head and leave.

Finally, after the day turned to night with little progress, Karen returned with a knife, ball of string, some nails and a hammer. A couple of minutes later the tree stood perfectly upward — at least by outward appearances.  At the time our S-capade was a disaster, but as we looked back, we both could laugh at the memory making moment.

That was the end of our real tree experiences. The day after Christmas 1976, we went to K-Mart — Karen drove — and picked out a somewhat real looking artificial tree that served us well in Illinois. And the Christmas season extended from the day after Thanksgiving to at least New Year’s Day.

By Ohio, however, we noticed the missing branches and how puny it looked in the majestic Victorian home we owned. So it was off to a Christmas shop outside Woodville to find a more suitable Christmas centerpiece. And we did {I more or less went for the ride}. It really was perfect … full and tall and more real looking than many real trees. To top it off, Karen chose a Victorian angel with a vibrant red velvet cape.

The tree followed us to Maryland and New York before it was finally retired as our family thinned and spread out. That’s when we came up with a pre-lit six footer with no muss and no fuss … the same one that graces the living room today.

However, there was an interlude. I was in no mood for Christmas the first year after Karen died. The last thing I wanted to do was put up a tree, although I knew I had to. So I decided to buy a living tree. Of course, you can’t leave them in the house too long and since I had decided to leave the day after Christmas to take my grandkids on a Christmas trip to the Radio City Traveling Christmas Spectacular {another story I’ll share} it was a quick in-the-house, decorate, out-of-the house experience. I brought the tree in Christmas Eve Day, went to a Christmas Eve service at church, came home, decorated the tree {with plenty of tears in my eyes}, enjoyed it Christmas Day and started dismantling it Christmas Day night for a return outside the next morning.

Year Two and Three was much the same, but last year I never even brought the tree in. When they went back outside, I planted them around the gazebo.

So, to see a tree in the living room in late November was a throwback to Christmases past. And it was a welcomed treat.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: When you feel like the plane is breaking apart and panic overwhelms you, go to your faith. Trust the Creator of the universe is piloting your plane.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in Faith, family, Memories, stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

  1. Deanna says:

    Oh, I am so glad Jay and Monica are there bringing back Christmas. I’m sure you missed putting on the lights and tinsel…100 times until it was just right!

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