Sunday, December 18, 2011

Simplifying Christmas

A few days ago, I ran into an elderly woman, a matriarch of her family, someone with long connections to this area.  Our families have known, loved her and respected her for a very long time.  She and I stood with our backs to the meat counter and she said:  "Christmas isn't fun like it used to be.  It has gotten way too complicated."  I would agree.  My family and I are trying to reduce the complications and keep it simple with the things that matter to us.   

I am pleased to report that I have always had a live Christmas Tree except for about 6 years when I was growing up.  I remember when Mother purchased the new "tinsel tree" which had Red Glass Balls and a beacons of rainbow colors shining on it.  I was in about the 7th grade and I was so very sad that we no longer had the living tree.  Those tinsel trees were all the rage, but they did not cut it with me.  Richard had always had a live Christmas Tree when he was growing up.  In fact, his family grew and sold Christmas Trees. 

Throughout our marriage, we have always had live Christmas Trees or live greenery.  In the last 15 years, we have had a "Christmas Branch".  We don't like the thought of cutting (AKA killing) a live Tree.  So instead, we just cut a Branch or Two from trees on our place, tie them together, and put them in a bucket which is then covered with the Christmas Tree Skirt I made some years back (and have not completed). 

We used to have a 7 foot tree and a myriad of ornaments.  I would buy them wherever I went.  I had a "collection" which included some additions for every year.  Over time, I concluded:  "That's not what Christmas is about. That's not what has meaning for our family."  So I culled the stock and sent some on their way to other families who would enjoy them.  The ornaments on our Christmas Branch are the old ones:  ones from my childhood, Richard's, Melanie's and ones from our shared experience together.  They are humble.  They are old.  Many are hand made by the children that we once were.  Some are worn, in fact, very one.  But they are so very beautiful.  When I put them on the Tree the other evening, I smiled and shed a few tears.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

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