O Tannenbaum

We always get our Christmas tree late. When H was a little girl, we cut it (or bought it if we were feeling lazy) and put it up on Christmas Eve Day. H would always feel sorry for the scruffy lot remaining, and pick out the scruffiest of all to take home. This is how we learned that it really makes no difference how perfect or im the tree itself is; once it’s decorated, it looks festively wonderful.

We’ve also worked for 40-odd years to keep commercial trinkets off the tree. We made our own when we were young (and had parties at which our young friends could mix mucilage, paper paste, and wine in their preferred proportions). We now have a tree heavily hung with memories, some created by friends and family, some by kindergarten artists, some simply thoughtful gifts.

We don’t agree on lights. We do agree that arguing at Christmas is a Bad Thing. So once the tree is up and watered in its stand, I gracefully withdraw and spend the resulting free time looking for gifts I’m pretty sure I bought back in the summer and hid somewhere exceptionally clever. Sometimes I find them. Most of them, anyway.

We’re early this year. Heading out shortly to choose a scruffy fir and have a young man bundle it up and tie it to the car roof. Sadly sans H, who now has a life to live and won’t arrive for a few days. But we’ll save the construction-paper star for her. Tree’s not properly dressed until she tops it off.

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