As a little girl I would anxiously look forward to decorating our family's Christmas tree. There were the plastic geometric ornaments, very 1970s. We would pull the ornaments out of the musty smelling cardboard box. Each ornament's appearance was like greeting a long lost friend. Every year the little pine cone Santa makes his appearance. I made pine cone Santa in grade 1 I think. As a teen I would roll my eyes as pine cone Santa made his annual visit. "Why can't we just through this one away?" I would ask disgustedly. "Never, you made that!" My mother would reply. That box of ornaments was a trip down memory lane, it still is. Pine cone Santa still makes his annual appearance on Mom and Dad's tree.
I had made myself a promise that my Christmas tree in adulthood would be stylish and sophisticated. In my teenaged head my tree looked like something out of the pages of a magazine. I bought my first tree at Canadian Tire my first year of university. It was a sad little table top tree. I blew my budget on the tree, and couldn't afford ornaments. It was not a tree like you would see in a magazine.
Christopher and my first Christmas as married couple, we bought a huge 10 foot tree (not on purpose). Once again we blew our budget on the tree. We stole ornaments from our parents. Our first Christmas tree was full of sad hand me down ornaments. I promised myself that one day I would have that stunning grand Christmas tree.
I am still waiting on that stunning grand tree. With children your money goes to them, Christmas tree ornaments seem like a frivolity. The other factor that hampers my beautiful magazine tree is the kids. They love to decorate the tree. As they pull out those old ornaments, they give a running commentary of the history of that ornament and what it reminds them of. Each ornament is a little trip down memory lane. They LOVE to decorate the tree. Allowing them to decorate, means that I will never have that magazine Christmas tree. The kids like to hang two and three ornaments per branch. There are some branches that are bent over with the weight of all of the ornaments, while others are completely bald. Our tree is covered in paper ornaments that have been made at school over the years. In other words my tree as an adult looks very much like my tree of childhood.
My new promise to myself is that when the kids are grown up I will have that stunning tree of my fantasies. It's a lofty idea, until I visit Mom and Dad's. The kids help decorate their tree. Pine cone Santa sits on that branch, his place of aged honour. I realize that I will never know a beautiful tree, it's just not in my cards. By the time my kids are adults, they will be bringing me my grandchildren.
I guess I should stop dreaming about that tree that I will never have. I traded in my beautiful stylish tree for kids. It's a fair trade. It is better to have an ugly tree full of beautiful memories, than to have a beautiful tree filled with no memories... at least that's what I'm trying to talk myself into believing.