This past January I reflected on not having put up a Christmas tree for the past 10 years, ( To Tree or Not to Tree ) so I thought I should begin the holiday season with a happy update.
We have a tree!
It’s a small one, but it’s lovely and full and vintage and smells sooooo good! It takes up gallons of water and sheds needles and tinsel every time I come near it so it’s perfect. Wait – TINSEL? Oh yes, I did the tinsel thing. I bought it as a joke – the packages were $1 – but when I finished trimming the tree in those lovely vintage 40′s and 50′s ornaments I thought, “What the hell – try a little!” Well, a little became a little more and while it does not look like the tinsel fairy threw up on the tree, it is tinseled and it looks wonderful. Normally I loathe the stuff but for some unknown reason this year it just seemed… right.
When I come downstairs in the morning and saunter into the family room with my coffee and my iPad, I smell the tree’s fragrance and I smile. I sip coffee and unlock the Angry Birds Seasons episode of the day and look at my tree and feel peaceful. Evenings are good, too, with the teeny blue tree lights that make the silver tinsel look blueish. It soothes me to see that icy blue in winter because it brings back a favorite childhood memory.
While driving home from a visit to Grandpa and Grandma Major, the sub-zero cold of a Nebraska night made for a spectacular, star filled sky. The clear, dark sky made the white snowy fields turn a kind of blueish tint. It was like a fairyland, and to a young girl at Christmas it was magical. Everyone else would fall asleep, Dad would be driving at breakneck speed (it was legal then) and I would ask him to keep making the headlights change from dim to bright – and he could do it with no hands! I though he was a genius – little did I know the button to toggle the bright headlights was on the floor by the brake. I thought he was magic. The night landscape was enchanting. Such a simple thing, but I have remembered it – vividly – my entire life.
Many, many years later I was driving around Gloucester looking at Christmas lights, feeling homesick and miserable. Then I saw it – a big house with a massive front lawn lit entirely by….blue lights. The snowy front lawn had that same blueish tint. I pulled over, got out of my car and snuck around the hedge and just stared at the whole scene. (It was very late, no one was up.) I got a little weepy. Happy weepy. I felt better. I got back in my car and went home. *
I’m one of the fortunate few who aren’t driven to distraction by the holiday shopping and the stress of holiday cooking. I love to cook – so does my husband – and we really have limited resources so gift buying is at a bare minimum. It’s very liberating to take such control over the holiday madness. It is a gift unto itself. Light those Advent candles and enjoy every ritual of the season. I truly am, for the first time in many years.
*Happy Update #2 – I later met the owner of that house and he has since become one of my dearest friends. He still puts up the blue lights but now I enjoy them with a cocktail in my hand beside a roaring fire – he is also a kindred, pyromaniac soul. Every year, every time – it’s magical.