I love my Christmas tree. Really, I do. I know that some prefer live trees, and those are really nice, too, but I really like my artificial one. But honestly, I used to really dislike putting up our tree. The job seemed to always fall to me. Each year, untangling the lights, making sure they all lighted up when plugged in, finding the one errant bulb messing up the works, and then there was always the strand that insisted on blinking when everyone else stayed lit, all just about sucked the joy out of putting up a tree at all. Then there was getting the lights on the tree itself.
All that went away when some really smart person invented the pre-lit tree. May God bless you, wherever you are. I love my pre-lit tree.
There’s more to why I love my tree than that it’s pre-lit, even though that is HUGE.
When my husband was a child, his family’s tree rotated. His dad made a stand that turned. Now our tree rotates, too. About five years ago, while shopping in Sam’s, my husband spied the rotating stand among the holiday decorations, and I knew it was coming home with us. Apparently rotating trees were not all that common when my husband was growing up, so the local newspaper even did a story on his family’s tree. It was a special thing to him.
So I love my pre-lit, rotating tree, but that’s not all I love about my tree. Early on, my mother-in-law took the time to show me all the neat ornaments on her tree. Some had been handmade by her mother and her mother-in-law. Some had come from friends or students who meant a lot to her. Others she had picked up during her travels to interesting places. It seemed that each ornament had a story.
My own parent’s tree is kind of like that, too. My mom has some ornaments on her tree that my grandmothers made. Beautiful beaded ornaments that shimmer in the lights from my dad’s mom. Intricate crocheted ones that her mother made. She also has some ornaments that were on her tree when she was a girl.
For a long time, she held onto several that my brother and I made when we were little, that is, until I asked one Christmas why she kept this one ornament in particular.
She said, “Well you made it, didn’t you?”
To which I said, “No. My friend Suzanne made it. I didn’t make it.”
We had a good laugh. Sometimes you have to be careful what you hold onto…. But that’s for another blog.
As I look at my fantastic pre-lit, rotating tree I see lots of sentiment on my tree as well. Ornaments given to my children from their grandmothers hang there; ornaments my children have made for me remind me of little hands covered in glue and glitter. Ornaments from my other family members cause me to smile as I think of them. And there are lots and lots of ornaments we have gathered as we have traveled to fun places as a family. Each ornament on my tree means so much to me because every one holds a memory of a special person or of a special time. And my tree is FULL. I am blessed.
Decorating the Christmas tree still falls mostly to me. The kids helped more when they were little. They loved to put all the ornaments on the tree… all in one spot together… But as they have grown older, their interest in the project is waning. The younger two still help a bit, but mostly I am left to placing the ornaments on myself.
It’s okay. I don’t mind. Each one brings a smile to my face and a warm spot to my heart. I find it’s a neat way to remember all the wonderful things in my life at this precious time of year. All these things are made even more special as we look to celebrate the best part of Christmas. Better than an ornament made by little hands, or one picked up on a wonderful trip.
Better even than a pre-lit rotating tree is the Baby born to save us.
As I look at my tree and remember all the great joys in my life, they all pale in comparison to the joy brought to us on that first Christmas. It’s that first great joy that makes all the other joys in life so wonderful.