I put up our family Christmas tree this last weekend and it went relatively smoothly. I am kind of a pain when it comes to the holiday décor. I want it to be perfect and tend to make the experience “not fun” for the rest of my family because every detail has to be my way. Most of my catastrophic meltdowns happen when the lights on the tree fail me. My tree easily has 15+ strands of white lights, all specifically poised for maximum brightness and “wow”. Then every year I tuck my tree away with total optimism that next year, all of my hard work and diligence will pay off…and this year, it finally did!
The system to decorate the tree is as follows:
- Assemble Tree. This is usually me by myself but this year D proved his strength by carrying it all in. He’s my macho man.
- Check (or correct) the lights. This is also me by myself because, well, nobody cares about the lights the way I do, let’s face it.
- Adorn with ribbon to highlight the theme color for the year (I try to have a new color every year). This is a two person job and K was my 2011 assistant.
- Add the colored bulbs to enhance theme color. Here’s where everyone joins in the “fun”
- Admire chubby faces (explanation forthcoming)
- Finally, add your personal ornaments.
Personal ornaments are one of the best traditions my folks started. Here is how it worked:
When I was a kid, one wrapped gift under the tree was an ornament for me. It had significance in its design. For example, one is a little house which represents the year the poor little rich white Mexican moved out to go to college. I have a saxophone ornament and lots of musical ones too for obvious reasons. Ornaments are relatively inexpensive and (here’s the kicker) mom said that when we grew up and got married, we would have a collection of ornaments that we could start our first family Christmas tree with. Ingenious! The annual ornament became a very important gift. To this day, I still put them up on my tree at Christmastime. Each one brings back different memories.
In 1991, the gifts were pretty slim and our ornament was a very humble clear, plastic bulb “engraved” with puffy craft paint. My parents had just divorced and with a tear in her eye, she apologized that the ornament couldn’t be better. She just couldn’t afford it. 😦
I hated that ornament for many years; not because it’s less-fancy but because it was representative of a dark time in my youth. It meant my life was never going to be the same. A ‘boring’ plastic bulb would be my future. I usually put that ornament in the back of the tree or would not put it on the tree at all but blogging has given me a new appreciation for God’s provision in my life and this year, for the first time, I put that ornament up proudly and in the front.
My kids get their annual ornament from their grandparents and the kids LOVE them. All the ornaments have a picture from that year and since we all know how quickly time flies, seeing those cute chubby faces on their old ornaments is pretty fun. We all oooh and aaaah and then the ornament goes up.