Now please don’t feel offended if you have a perfectly coordinated and/or themed Christmas tree. I enjoy looking at your trees—the ones at the Potawatomi Inn, in my husband’s department, and at my church. They are absolutely beautiful, and I am not suggesting that others change how they decorate trees. But as for me and my house, we will keep our trash tree.
I’ve struggled with Christmas the past few years and how to celebrate it as we transition from having kids home all the time to just having them home for a few days. I recently realized it’s not that I don’t like baking cookies, decorating the tree, etc. I just don’t like doing it alone; my most prominent “love language” is quality time. Being able to place the decorations on the tree where I want them and having them perfectly spaced is not nearly as satisfying for me as having our family reminisce as we hang our collection ornaments wherever we please.
Last night we decorated our tree—yes, on Dec. 21 when everyone was finally home. We talked about the yarn ornaments my grandmother made, the ceramic ones my mother painted years ago, and the messy paint job on the wooden ones I painted as a child. We told about how Jeff’s mom passed on some of their plastic 60s ornaments to us after we got married and how his class made the clothespin reindeer back when he had to teach art in elementary school. We pointed out the brass ornament from our church in Champaign, the braided wreathes we brought back from the Philippines, and a tiny ornament from our Christmas hike into the Grand Canyon.
We looked at the first, second, etc. Christmas ornaments my mom had given the boys over the years—and debated whether to hang the Colts ones this year! We laughed at the paper picture of the Holy family Will had scribbled on with a green crayon and imagined he wanted to get the coloring over with as quickly as possible so he could play. We struggled to remember what exactly the dough ornaments TJ made in New Mexico were supposed to be (Kwanzaa masks—and yes we hang them on our Christmas tree). We reminisced about Christmases past.
I will treasure these memories of decorating our “trash tree” when, in a few short years, we will have to share the boys with other families or distance may keep them from getting home for even as long as they manage now. And I hope you will treasure Christmas no matter what type of tree you may have.