“Pardon me?” I’m a puzzle as to what she’s looking for.
“Every tree has a story. Tell me the story of this one.” Quizzical is sketched across her face at my lack of understanding.
“Oh, you mean, the ornaments and such?” I get it now.
I look at the tree; really look at it. It’s the center of tradition. It has a life all its own, which is a reflection of our family. In the big house in days of yore, there were two trees; one very formal festooned with flowers, ribbons and finery. She stood guard near the front door signaling a decorative holiday spirit. Very formal. Soldier like.
The other tree is the family tree, the tree for which Santa searches, and the tree that reflects back the true personality of our family, all of us. It is the only tree this year. New condo has only so many corners and this tree spends time in each corner as I drag it from perch to perch until it screams, “Home.”
I am reminded of our first Christmas, The Norwegian and myself. He thought a freshly chopped tree would create a fine tradition. That lasted one year. A lumberjack my dearly departed was not. The tree traveled home strapped to the car. The Norwegian missed greatly in height approximation and the idea that at least three quarters should be considered the “good side.”
As a new bride, I was not much better. We had two ornaments. We spent almost a year building a home leaving little money for the hand blown ornaments I favored. In our little town’s drug store, I found ribbon in Christmas shades; not thin curling ribbon, but thicker for gifts. I took home every roll , cut in equal pieces and tied them about the tree. Our first tree was the ribbon tree. At the time, I saw no ornaments. On reflection, I see beautiful ribbons and love.
By the way, ornaments don’t always make the tree. How about twigs, flowers, dolls, wired ribbon woven in and out and trinkets that mean something to your family. For a different twist, stop by Cornelia Park in the Biltmore Shops for stunning holiday décor, featuring MacKenzie Childs products and furnishings. Feast for the eyes, Christmas or naught. Another winner for all things holiday is the European Christmas Market in Old Town Scottsdale. Yep, open all year.
My eyes travel further landing on one of many ornaments crafted by the tiny hands of children. There are tissue paper wreaths featuring a toothless little one, hand painted baubles with special messages and elaborately fashioned bells and some things as unidentifiable now as the day they came home from kindergarten. There is a Baby Jesus hidden somewhere who each year threatens to jump from his bed in only swaddling clothes.
The stunning imported, crystal, exquisitely painted ornamentation of my girlhood dreams is there as well. They came much later to join the party. They are as lovely as imagined, but not nearly as breathtaking as the memories filling the rest of the tree.