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 Caños Garmon