Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Trees of Life

When my children were very young, it became necessary to have two Christmas trees. The lovely homemade crafts and school offerings were so bountiful, that they deserved a separate artificial tree. Our other tree, the result of an annual hayride and forest trek, contained more traditional ornaments such as Mickey Mouse replicas, Star Trek space ships, spinning ballerinas and model ponies.

Although I enjoyed letting the little hands help decorate our trees with the aforementioned homemades and collectibles, I must admit, I admired and envied the beautifully trimmed trees in specialty stores. I looked forward to the day when I would be able to have a "grown up" Christmas tree. Eventually, that day came.

I always adored the sparkle, the shine and wealth that the colour gold represented, so I began to purchase my own beautiful ornaments. I had just one tree, my tree. It was fairly expensive, life-like but artificial. Each year, I added one specially sought out new glass ball. Sometimes they were simply extravagant indulgences but occasionally, they had a special meaning to my life. Before long, my tree began to resemble Fort Knox and as my son pointed out "could probably be seen from outer space".

I moved to a smaller home and I needed to purchase a more fitting tree. It was still quite large to accommodate my collections, but narrower and space saving. My now young adult children convinced me that it was time to add a little colour. My choice was red. The tree looked even better. It was classy. It was tasteful. It was spectacular!

Three years ago, I set up my tree for the first time as a married person. I spent hours decorating it in my annual loving fashion, admiring it and moving things around in order to make it look just right. As I prepared to put on the finishing touches of gold tinsel, I suddenly realized that I was not alone. Hubby appeared from our storage room having unearthed a box of his ornaments. He then proceeded to hang blue, green, silver, PINK and other assorted colours amongst my gold and red treasures. My mouth gaped. "There. Don't those look nice?" he remarked. He interpreted my stunned silence as approval and moved away, quite pleased with his efforts. Of course, I had to be fair and change my thinking. It was his tree too. Strange thing though, I noted that over the course of the next few weeks, the "odd" coloured ornaments gradually and mysteriously edged toward the back of the tree and under large branches.

This past week, we concluded that because of the nature and locations of this year's Christmas celebrations, we would downsize. I agreed to a small tree on a table in our living room window. It was easy to assemble, quick to decorate with small wooden carved people and angels since it came prelit with cranberries and pinecones. It's quite nice, but I look at this tree sadly, wondering how long before we are headed toward a twelve inch seniors' coffee table tree or possibly, no tree at all.

While staring at the red base of our new Canadian Tire tree and imagining how much better it would look spray painted gold, I have reached a decision. I'm not ready to give it up yet. Next year, it's back to two trees. The small one will remain in the window. The other will be large, glittery and auspicious in our rec room. After all, what better way to celebrate Christmas than with a sparkling artificial tree next to a blazing electric fireplace?

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