The Celebration Tree

While contemplating when I was going to summon up the energy to get the Christmas tree down, one of my daughters asked yet again if we could keep it up all year. I smiled my condescending adult smile, said I understood, but…no.

Seeing her face, I relented and told her to pull out a few favorite ornaments. We’d find a spot for them. Translation: I’ll wait a few days until I’m pretty sure you won’t notice and I’ll put them away.

But I’m learning something about her. She does notice. Things are not forgotten, nor are they forgiven. She stays quiet, but every now and then it comes up again. Resentments about the fast pace of life lie buried in the soft sand at the bottom of her soul. Little landmines.

This highlights my own ulterior motives. After years of chaos, which I haven’t forgotten or forgiven, my war against household chaos seems to have taken a small turn in my favor. There is more order in our house. I feel good. I’m getting a protectively militant about it. They’re old enough to understand. Mommy’s need for order needs to win, hands down. Not finding a lot of inner flexibility on this one.

But then she said, “Why can’t we keep it up, put the Christmas stuff away and put other stuff like Valentine’s stuff up?” I paused. We have a small fake tree because live evergreen gives Rick headaches. I’ve cringed inside about it for the last few years, but in this situation, it is an asset.

The tree doesn’t take up much space, it isn’t a fire hazard and doesn’t drop needles. I”ve never been one to go over the top on holiday decorations – I aim for a very ungirly refined and tasteful — and I know she’d like a little more blatant festivity around the house.

I used to make nature tables to create an awareness of cycles and seasons. I’ve let that drop off, but this could be a nice way to bring it back. It might also be a gentle way to help her choose looking ahead instead of hanging on. An experiment.

So recently I put away everything except the tree and few ornaments. Two heart ornaments are hanging expectantly on the top. A small tribe of armless nutcrackers stand sentry at the bottom, while an angel huddles underneath with a reindeer holding a kayak. This tree may not make it past February 14, and I can hardly imagine this scraggly thing covered in red, white and blue bunting, but soon, the tree will be filled with hearts. What’s not to like?

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7 Responses to The Celebration Tree

  1. I really love that idea, and I know it sounds dorky, but I’m sure in a way, it caters to your need for organization because you have all your decorations confined to a designated area, the tree. It’s definitely a win/win situation for you and your family.

  2. growingmygirls says:

    Thanks! No, it doesn’t sound dorky at all, and I hadn’t thought of it as a way to be organized. I like it! I’m hoping to dig up/make a few heart things for it in the next week or so and add a little more to it. It’s looking bare.

  3. christine says:

    You are such a good, in touch mother, I love the idea and I want to make a orniment for it, any chance you would send me your address?
    I can remember having a live evergreen as a kid it was a tradition to get a live balled tree and plant it, (we would keep the tempture down in the living room to keep it alive, dig the hole early as the ground would be frozen) we had a small forest years later that the new owners cut down, it broke my heart. All the hard work and sacrifice, it was worth it but….
    So, we, me and all 3 males, have done many alternatives to the evergreen: a tree made out of card board – colored with magic markers and crayons and paper orniments, one of metal, a fabric one, an aloe plant with small orniments, an artifical tree which looks the most like others it suits us, no needles, no clean up, no fire hazard, and then most recently – none at all. The saddness is covered by the idea not having to deal with it.
    I did take some all weather orniments outside and cover the evergreen tree in the front yard. It got covered with snow and I am not sure anyone noticed.
    I wish you all the best, just think of shammrocks on it in March…

    • growingmygirls says:

      I love the idea of a live tree — we tried that when the girls were young but just were not able to keep the trees alive, so we stopped after several tries. I’m impressed that you pulled it off. And I feel for you about not having a tree at all. As much as I want to keep Christmas fuss down, I still want it around! We’d love an ornament — that’s so kind of you! Email me at c26marshall@yahoo.com.

  4. Pingback: The Valentine’s Tree | growingmygirls

  5. Pingback: Traditions: My Charlie Brown Christmas tree, en français | The More Things Change…

    • growingmygirls says:

      Very cool! Keep us posted on how it goes. I found it quite fun most of the time, especially if I had time and energy to make the decorations interesting and attractive.

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