The Christmas Tree

We’ve had the same Christmas tree for 20 years. It is a highly valued family possession. Standing a humble 6 1/2 feet tall with branches of bright green the color reminds me of a child’s finger paints. Yet the shade sets off the delicate ornaments hanging from its bows beautifully. The tree is lush and full which makes up for its lack of height. It reminds me of trees we used to see when driving north to Santa’s Village with the kids. As long as you avoid touching the limbs, which are paper thin, it passes as real.

The tree is always covered in tiny white lights, save one lower bow reserved for a string of multicolored bulbs. The colorful strand pulsates to the sound of tradition Christmas songs coming from a box near the plug in a gentle music box style. The smell of pine wafts from the tree, an artificial aroma created by air fresheners hung from branches. Legend has it cats are repelled by the spicy scent. Both of our furry family members seem to enjoy the aroma as they climb the tree, lounge on their favorite branches and bat at the air fresheners. Thankfully the tree is heavy which makes it impossible for the little felines to knock over.

So what makes this tree so precious to us? It is the ornaments. Each one carefully chosen over the years to reflect the stages of life or the story we lived in any given year. Everything from our first Christmas together as a married couple, to baby milestones,  items the kids made in elementary school, to handmade ornaments created during leaner years. More recently a hand crafted beaded felt heart all the way from SA. This item was created by a group of women in South Africa who sell the items to help support their families. A friend who visited the town gave it to me as a gift last year.

At Christmas time these ornaments displayed amidst a backdrop of bright green and under tiny twinkling lights is a beautiful reminder of all we have lived and shared together and it is our story.

As the grandchildren have started to arrive, and just as I envisioned 20 some years ago; we make a warm cup of hot chocolate sit back and share stories associated with each ornament.

In our home this is so much more than a Christmas tree. This is a story tree.

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