Thursday, December 07, 2006

Instant Christmas

Tomorrow I'll probably be putting up our Christmas tree, so in honor of that, I will re-run my original post about Christmas at our house from two years ago...

WARNING: Die-hard Christmas traditionalists may be greatly traumatized by this post. Smelling salts will not be provided.

Long ago (well, maybe 8 years ago), Tom, Naomi and I realized that going out shopping for a Christmas tree had become our yearly family nightmare.

The rest of the year, on the most part, the three of us got along great. About as nice and sweet a family you could ever hope to meet. But just let us show up at a Christmas tree lot and we all morphed into monsters. Each person had their own vision of the perfect Christmas tree and each person was determined to tie that vision to the top of our car and carry it home.

Well, one year it hit us. None of us wanted to attempt the annual family Christmas tree a-hunting-we-will-go. We kept putting it off. Later and later and still no tree and still no one felt like going out and buying one. No one wanted to wreck the family peace.

That became what is fondly referred to as The Christmas Without a Christmas Tree. We just piled the presents against a wall and managed to celebrate Christmas anyway. We barely noticed we had no tree. And since Naomi had two years before stopped helping me decorate the tree, well, I was the only one who missed that part. (Okay, so I missed it like I would miss being hit by a speeding reindeer.)

But our friends noticed our 'treelessness' and made little questioning remarks. I could tell they questioned our sanity/motives/parenting ability by the tone of their voices.

Well, the next four years we used a fake Christmas tree, one that (here's where I lose half my faithful readers)--one that Tom found on the curb. But hey! It was a faux tree and to us, they all look the same. It served its purpose.

Now here is where I lose the other half of my readers---when it came time to take down the tree and put all the ornaments away, I chose, shall we say, the road less traveled. I carried the whole tree, ornaments and all, up to our attic and left it in a dark corner. And okay! I confess that the following December I was absolutely thrilled that all I had to do was bring that thing down from the attic and stick it in a stand.

Poof. Instant Christmas.

Well, if anyone is still even reading this blog, let me reassure you. I no longer do that. No, our attic has been finished-off and is part of Naomi's 'apartment' upstairs. There's hasn't been room for a real-live fake Christmas tree up there for years.

No, for the last four years we have used that gold grapevine thing that you see in the picture at the top of this post. And yes, we keep it on our dining room table the whole month of December. To top it off, I even burn pine-scented candles nearby so that Naomi will associate that scent with Christmas since we have no real tree.

And then when January comes around I fold-up that gold grapevine collapsible tree, ornaments and all, and carry it down to our basement, always to the same corner. There it will sit ready to be unfolded next year, placed upon the table for again-- Poof! Instant Christmas.

Hey... It works for us. We laugh about our sweet little tree each year. And how much nicer it is to have a funny, peaceful December than one where we dread that one day formerly known as The Battle of The Christmas Tree.

There are no more battles this way. No , just more time to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.


At Christmastime, more than any other, it takes a brave soul to create traditions different than those of all his neighbors...

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