Love, not money

It doesn't show the whole tree, but you get the idea. Yorktown, Virginia, 2010

It doesn’t show the whole tree, but you get the idea. Yorktown, Virginia, 2010.

“The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.”
― Andy Rooney

OK, for those of you who don’t already know it, I confess that our Christmas tree is WAY, way overdone.  I always insisted on a live one until the ever-increasing quantity of my ornament collection got to the point where it would kill even the biggest, thickest “real” tree.  In 2000, we got our first and only artificial tree, and it’s a dandy.  Though it loses a ton of needles every time we put it up and take it down (and I thought it was only live trees that did that!), it’s still thicker than anything I’ve seen in any store recently.

Our tree is my personal scrapbook, so lots of things that aren’t really meant to be ornaments end up getting transformed into something I can hang on the tree.  Since I put about 4000 colored lights on it, and some more conventional baubles as well, the oddball artifacts somehow blend into the scene without creating too much disturbance, at least not to us.  The real drawback to our tree is how much time it takes me to finish decorating it each year.

Or maybe it’s not a drawback at all.  Maybe that’s actually a strong point.  Once I finish wrestling with those branches that get bent out of shape sitting in the box all year long, and put 40 strings of lights and a star on it, the fun part starts.  Hanging the ornaments can be very relaxing, even with a tall ladder, as long as I don’t rush myself.  While decorating I listen to Jeff and Matt reading, or have an audiobook on, or play Christmas music. I take it a little at a time and usually don’t totally finish up until just before Christmas (or Thanksgiving, if we are hosting company for a big party that weekend).

My love of Christmas trees goes as far back as I can remember.  In fact, here’s one of the first photographs I ever made, using my cheap K-Mart plastic camera and some black and white 127 film, which I used to buy for 25 cents a roll.  I’m guessing this was around 1964 or 1965:

Daddy always started with the star.

Taking the tree down is almost — but not quite — as time-consuming as putting it up, and is a lot less fun. So each year, I tell myself that perhaps this will be the last year I undertake this rather ambitious task. Not to worry, though…the torch is passed to a new generation!

Do you have a Christmas tree or any other special traditions? What decorations, games and treats do you love best?  Tell us about them and we might get some ideas for our own celebrations.  And while you’re at it, if you need any ornaments, let me know what kind you like best, and I’ll send you one from our personal collection.  Whether you deck your own halls or celebrate Christmas mostly in your heart (or not at all), I wish you a December full of memories to treasure for a lifetime.

This post was first published seven years ago today. I have only put the Christmas tree up two Christmas seasons since Jeff died (2018 and again in 2021), but whether I decorate it or not, I love the memories of it. 

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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