You know the trees I’m talking about, the kind where everything matches from tree skirt to topper, where there are no ugly paper "ornaments" young children made in school, none awkwardly glued back together after an altercation with said child (or maybe the family pet).
Over the past few years, I’ve watched Facebook photos depict a trend shifting away from angels hovering from on high to decadent ribbon bows that weave glittery trails down from that uppermost perch. I’ve also watched the family tree turn into little more than a generic decoration, one that could be stuffed in the van, transported down the street to the neighbor’s house, and plopped down in that new space, all without anyone knowing the difference.
Don’t get me wrong. I love those trees. I drool over your perfectly spaced ornaments all in perfect ombre gradations of blues and silvers. I longingly gaze at the rolls of ribbon woven sparkling throughout your branches and think how perfectly they would accent my own home’s decor. Sometimes, I even grow a bit envious of your well-lit branches that shine a pristine glow of bright white through your front door as I pass by.
But when it comes time to erect my own family's tree each year, I don’t go out and buy the seven foot green pre-lit one I always said I’d own whenever I had a house of my own. I don’t buy the perfectly matched ornaments of fashion that I still give a wistful glance each time I ever so slowly stroll by that aisle of the store.
No. Instead, I pull out the same retro pink tinsel tree and with eyes aglow, open the treasure box that houses so many priceless gems from years gone by.
There are the dozens of crocheted snowflakes my mother stitched and starched, the beaded snowflakes, angels, soldiers, and candy canes she I made in bulk, many with fellow GA's and Acteens at church.
These are the treasures that decorate our tree, each telling part of our story, each revealing something about each of us five individuals who live together collectively as a family beneath this roof.
These are the stories we tell year after year as we decorate, tales so oft repeated that they knit together to form the very tapestry of our family that shines, albeit with a different kind of beauty each Christmas.