Friday, December 16, 2011

Does Everyone Have a Christmas Tree?

One of my favorite ornaments, bought back in my naive youth, when I believed there was true love and someone for everyone.

This year's Christmas tabletop ornament display is on my dining room table.

Does everyone have a tree? Really? Everyone?

I think we get so caught up in what the "idea" of Christmas is. I'm not sure I can see everybody actually having a tree. Students in dormitories? Widows in one bedroom apartments? My son and I in our tiny house?

I gave up on tinsel on Christmas trees the first time a roommate's cat ended up with "tinsel-butt".

It must be a slippery slope after that.

I've had one Christmas tree since I moved to my tiny house. I think it was the second Christmas after my son and I started living here. The first year, I was so busy and caught up with finishing the remodel and unpacking Christmas sort of got lost in the shuffle. The next year I may have put up a tree, but the year after my son and I spent the Christmas holiday at a water park themed hotel in the Wisconsin Dells and we didn't see the point.

After that, Faithful Companion joined our little family. For many years before my divorce I collected incredibly delicate, intricately decorated glass ornaments. Each year I would carefully unwrap these fragile dreams and hang them on a real balsam fir.

When my son was born just three short weeks before Christmas one year and presented to me in a huge stocking wearing a Santa hat, like Santa brought the thing from the North Pole; the fancy ornaments began their migration up the tree.

The addition of a frenetic boxer put paid to the idea of a tree for the next couple years. By the time Cinnamon turned four and calmed down enough that I believed she wouldn't pee on the tree stand or try to jump up and carry off some glass bulb that looked shiny and appetizing, my son was well into his basketball career.

He has often played tournaments over the Christmas break.

So there is just us, my son and I. Some years, just me as my son would spend Christmas with his dad, who I think the last couple years has had an eight foot tree in every room (big house).

We have no company gracing our home, and no reason to cut down a tree that grew for 8-10 years just to fill up half the dining room for a good three weeks. Three weeks or so in which I will bump into it trying to get to the poorly-placed light switch or to close the drapes.

So this is my son's last year of high school. It is already the 16th of December, and no tree. I wish I had big living room or dining room or just the right place to display one. Maybe I'd hang lots of twinkly lights. Maybe I'd dig out all the antique Christmas ornaments for the 1950s, the fragile glass ones in different themes (fruit, birds, the sea, commemorative, etc.), the glass garland, the elaborate crystal angel tree topper. Maybe I'd do that if there was family or friends planning to come, but there isn't.

So I have decided on this table topper with a few of the ornaments and a crystal beaded garland with silver bells that makes an soft, rustling sound.

If you close your eyes, you might almost imagine the sound is that of a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer far off across the snow.

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