Christmas is coming! I love the Christmas season. I don’t really have a standout favorite thing about it. Well, that’s not true. I LIVE for Countdown to Christmas on The Hallmark Channel. But rather than have to decide what I like best about the holiday, I choose to like all of it equally: the decorations, the Christmas music, the lights; ALL of it! But there are certain branches of Christmas that kindle special memories and spark a few flames in the heart.
We are definitely a family that stands united and that stands on tradition. For us, Christmas starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Every year we go pick out the perfect-not-perfect tree. When The Kiddos were Smalls, we went together as a family and it would take us hours to find the right tree. Even though they all liked something different, we wouldn’t leave until we all agreed on one. The Hubster and I would nearly always agree on the tree we liked, and of course, each Kiddo would choose a different one. At that point, it was time for all of us to go to each tree everyone liked and “sell” the others as to why that would be the Christmas tree for the house.
But no matter which one we ended up deciding upon, we knew what awaited us when we got home. Christmas-tree-decorating-day meant The Hubster climbed into the attic and brought all the packed-up Christmas boxes down for us to deck the halls, and it also meant cinnamon popcorn and homemade eggnog. We turned on Christmas music (the classic kind, of course) and away we would go.
Now that The Kiddos are Talls, they still hold that day as the day for putting up the tree and getting their ornaments up in their own homes. And so, still, do we. Now each year, The Hubster and I go and pick out our own tree knowing it’s a reminder of times gone by. For the last few years the tradition has been for Aunt Lu to come with us and help us choose. The three of us still do the walk-and-find. My choice is not always what most people would want, though.
When I go a-tree huntin’, the big winner is always one that stands up straight, because I believe we stand up straight when we’re confident about life. We shake the tree, and if the needles fall off right away, it doesn’t get picked. That means it’s not healthy enough to last, and I intentionally choose health for The Fam so that we can last and be together as long as we can. To pull a tree out and see if it’s rounded all the way around or flat on one side, and that the trunk is large enough to be grounded into a tree stand, is a big deal. My goal for my family and myself is to be sure we are grounded, and well-rounded in everything we do. I especially like the ones that are a little imperfect; the ones that maybe have some sort of gaping hole or seem to have some branches that jut out further than the others. I like the ones that are blemished in ways that show the flaw, though it may be a little hard to see. Isn’t that how we are as mere humans? We try so hard to look a certain way or stand out, knowing each one of us is imperfect on the inside, though it may just barely be enough for anyone to see.
Once we find the precise tree, we place vintage ornaments on it with the greatest care. Each one gets unwrapped and hung in just the right place. Now I know some of you have that ornament OCD The DAUGHTS talked about in her blog, The Untidy Tribe, but as for The Hubster and I, we just put them on the tree where we really believe they belong. If that means a couple hang close to one another, then so be it. Even with that, there is a parallel to what we feel for our family and community not just at Christmas, but every day – we want to hang close to one another, believing we are in the exact right place with the right timing for each season.
Christmas is coming! How have you stood united with those you love? What traditions have you kept or created to give a sense of who you are and the legacy you build to tell your story? Do you embrace your imperfections, no matter how you decorate the outside? How do YOU choose YOUR Christmas tree?
“Oh, Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches.”