Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We’ll take that one

The lyrics of one of my favorite Christmas songs tells about snow crunching and people rushing around and above all the bustle, you can still here Bing Crosby singing about those “Silver Bells.”  Of course when this song was first written and recorded in1950, the parents of the time had no idea what holiday hustle and bustle meant.  I’m pretty sure if a mom of 64 years ago waltzed into my family’s crazy life this December, she might pass out right there with her pearl necklace dangling around her neck.
So it’s a pretty good thing for the people living in this house that we prefer less than perfect Christmas trees, because I think my exact words to my husband were, “Dear, we either get a tree in the next half hour or December 20th, because that’s the only free time we have between now and the big day.” 
Even though life would be easier with an artificial tree, we just can’t let go of the tradition of a chopped down beauty that although ended its life early, might not have ever been there in the first place.  Artificial trees are perfectly shaped, don’t come with random bits of bird nests or pine cones, don’t cover you in sap, and if they are pre-lit, don’t offer you the opportunity to spear your flesh with hundreds of little needles while you fight with your spouse about the correct way to hang lights on a Christmas tree.  Where’s the fun in that? 
Some families make an entire day of it, waltzing through acres of trees, singing carols and sipping cocoa until the heavens open and they find that one idyllic tree.  They take nostalgic photos and dads saw it down, feeling a bit like a lumberjack, while the rest of the family enjoys the crisp air of a winter day and potentially frostbite.
Other families have 20 minutes and drive to the parking lot at the grocery store (which actually sells some pretty great trees) and avoid getting run over to walk through the dozen or so trees set up where each member chooses a different one and arguments ensue.

But as it goes, if mama ain’t happy, no one happy, so that family always goes with mom’s choice which, I might add, is a wise decision.  Because this mama only chooses the trees with a little imperfection.  If we wanted a perfect tree, we’d buy one that we stored in a box in the basement all year.  Real Christmas trees are about character and the smell of fir, and hanging extra ornaments in the big hole because the bare side had to go up against the wall.  We tend to hang so many ornaments that by the end of it you can barely even tell it’s a tree at all.  And if there was ever a bald spot or a crooked limb, not even a 1950 mom would be able to find it.  Not even after she woke up and straightened her pearls.

Originally written/published 12/7/14.

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