Friday, December 23, 2011


WHAT WAS THERE ABOUT THIS YEAR that made me decide on a whim to purchase a tree? It's to be a year of no material gifts whatsoever, neither given, nor received and I surprised myself by buying an 8 inch wreath and a small swag for our front door, mostly so we could get a whiff of Christmas now and again. That aroma is too good to give up and before my purchases dried up, they didn't offer much in the way of the sweet smell of Christmas.

I passed this sign on the way home from breakfast last Sunday and circled the block, whipped into a parking place and asked my Scrooge how he felt about choosing a tree. Amazingly, he was game and soon reappeared with a perfect little evergreen.

At home he emerged from the passenger side with his tree just as Clara was finishing her three-times-around-the-block-equals-one-mile ritual and she insisted on hanging the tree on her walker to take it inside.

Although she lives on the first floor, she marched on to the elevator and when we got to our door, Clara had the littlest Christmas tree waiting for us.

I couldn't resist taking a picture for the archives. I know that we had a traditional live tree, fully decorated, as the children were growing up, but I wonder at what point we jettisoned the practice to devote all of our energies toward the extra hours of retail demands at that time of year.

Our daughter remembers, perhaps too vividly, the year I was determined to have a tree in every room of the house and proceeded to buy our six trees, standing them in buckets of water on the patio and after Christmas, carrying them from the back yard out to the trash pickup location at the curb. They never saw the inside of the house. A total waste of money. Foolish and frustrating, more so even than the year I mixed up several batches of cookie dough in November, labeling them with oven temperature and baking time before finding room for them in the freezer. My organizational efforts always fail and we didn't get around to Christmas cookie baking until the next February.

So you can see the import of acquiring a tree this year of all years, a year that I can't label "bad" even though we've been challenged beyond anything that's happened to us before. I can't speak for Mr. Bob, but I have found unexpected gifts in the situation, perhaps most of all the receiving of your friendship as you've cheered us on along this unknown path.

sit with husband
in a room
lit only by 
tree lights and remember that 
our blessings outnumber the lights. 
Happy Christmas to all!"
                                                                                      Betsy CaƱos Garmon


  1. I just closed out without saving my comment. The short version: I love the quote at the end, especially as this is my first Christmas with a husband. :) And I love the idea of a tree in every room, but with live trees, I'm sure it was quite a chore. A nice idea, though, Jane, even if it wasn't completed. (Hey, some people never even THINK of these things, tell yourself....) :) And I love your little tree this year--and that Bob agreed to get one. :)

  2. I just read the "tradition" to husband, Bill, and he liked the idea....will do so tomorrow night and think of you.I chuckled at your various Christmas "plans" of the past that were started but never came to fruition....sounds like many of mine. Ah yes, we have much in common. Love, rusti

  3. I do sit with my husband as per your suggestion, and tonight I shall, as I often do, think of you and Mr Bob while wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year !

  4. I will think of you two too, Jane.
    Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!

  5. What a pretty little tree! I love your positive outlook! Merry Christmas Auntie Jane! Love,Shelley

  6. Great Great Holidays ! Thinking of the two of you and all at your residence. Have some fun through the holidays and 2012

    A Non Y Mouse aka LaVona

  7. (referring to the picture of the tree in the hallway)
    jinxmcc said:
    Aww, Jane! A long time ago I wrote in my Flickr profile that I admire "the picture that somehow shows what touched a heart, a mind, a sense of beauty or a sense of humor. All 4 at once is a bulls-eye (I haven't made it yet)." You made it!! Very best Christmas wishes to you!

  8. Loved the "Little Tree" prehaps it stands taller than you think. It can end a challenging year with a hopeful note of a much better one next year. Take that special time out to sit and enjoy the lights of the tree together it's good for the soul.
    Sorry I didn't get a chance to wish you both a Merry Christmas in person last week. Take care of each other and have a WONDERFUL New Year. See you in Jan.

  9. That's a beautiful tree you rescued and brought home to fulfill its destiny. What would you have gained by NOT doing it as opposed to doing? And the hallway -long and stretching to infinity - except...for the little tree! Truly says volumes.

    Have a lovely holiday, you two. I'll be home for Christmas. Love, #409

  10. Your sweetest post yet. Wishes for a very merry Christmas for both you and Uncle Bob. XO

  11. Beautiful story!!Love Clara!!!
    Merry Christmas..

  12. That manor hallway was pretty devoid of personality so I am glad you got a picture of the tree there. Is no one allowed to post things on their door? I have just a little fake tree, but I put it up every year so I can have the Christmas feeling. We go to the mother-in-laws house so there is no need to have a real one at home. Gotta have something though. :-) Now it is time to say Happy New Year! The Oslo Mom