Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Whining child: "Mom, it looks like a Macy's Tree!"

When Dave and I merged our two families some 29 years ago, we bought a two story home with a pool, and large enough for four kids, two adults, a dog, some hamsters, and a cat. We had the modern day version of the Brady bunch, warts and all. We learned quickly that when you combine two families, there are a lot of steeped traditions that somehow have to be merged...and it can be very painful.

As a married adult, my artsy/creative nature pretty much ruled how my home would be decorated for the holidays. Because we didn't have a lot of money growing up, my grown-up aesthetic morphed into a rather glitzy, Pottery World-ish look and that love of "beautiful!" was reflected in my Christmas Trees every year.

Dave was used to the Christmas Tree traditions that he had established with his family - the kids hanging the ornaments, stringing the popcorn and paper garlands, tinsel...the whole works. So imagine their total horror when I announced the first year that I would decorate the tree. We had just bought a new sofa (remember "dusty rose"?) and so nothing but burgundy, rose and gold would do for the family tree.

"It looks like a Macy's tree, Mom."

"Yes, it does," I said smiling and thinking that they intended it as a compliment of sorts. 

But to my chagrin, the kids didn't like the massive 10 foot artificial tree bedecked in ribbons and gold.  I had a small fortune invested in it, and I must admit as I look at the old photos, it might have been a little garish. After that first Christmas, we reached a compromise: They would decorate the tree one year and then I would get to do it the next year. The funny thing was that as they got older, their attention span on decorating Christmas trees waned, and I would end up finishing the project anyway.

Over the years since they have all grown up and left home, I guess I'm stuck on "over-the-top" trees.  I alternate between my shamefully ridiculous supply of ornaments and decorations, so my tree never looks the same. And even though I try to cull my collection every January, the stack of boxes to go back into the garage never seems to get any smaller. Despite my love of Christmas in general, I will admit that the older I get, the more I dread putting it up. It stays up longer too, because the only thing I hate more than putting up the tree is taking it down.

This year, I went with the forest look, opting for berries, branches, snow and only a few beloved ornaments. I added the music ribbon because it goes with my sheet music wreath...and it just makes my heart sing. It may still be over-the-top, but what can I say? I guess I still love a "Macy's" tree!

In the end, it's not about the tree anyway. 
For me, Jesus is the reason for the Season. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Feliz Navidad, 
Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, etc. 
Whatever your tradition, share joy and peace with others.
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