Sometimes, the smallest things make me insanely happy.
I hate to sound like a Grinch, but overall, I haven’t been having the most joyful December. In between the unseasonally warm weather, 12-hour work days, and feeling fat (probably due to my mass consumption of chocolate lately), I haven’t had the time to feel Christmas cheer.
But this is also the last Christmas D and I will be spending in his house (and for me, also the first) as the house will be going on the renter’s market in the early part of next year, so I was adamant that we are not going to let it slip by. And all I wanted for Christmas was a Christmas tree.
A real live tree. The experience of picking it out at the tree yard. The smell of fir. And jazzing it up with baubles and golden lights.
My first real Christmas tree ever!
Growing up in a humble apartment without a lot of extra cash to spare, we never had a real tree. But my mother still did everything she could to make Christmas a magical time for two little girls. We had one strand of multi-colored lights (the same ones she still has to this day) that she would string up on the wall in the shape of a tree, and fill the inside up with Christmas cards received over the years. That was the extent of our decorations. She would hide all gifts (many contributed by family friends) in the basement storage cellar and quietly set them out in the dead of the night. Christmas morning would be absolutely magical as we wake up to a table full of gifts and open our presents under the twinkling multi-colored lights.
A book, a sweater, pencils, candy… it wouldn’t matter that nothing was fancy or that we didn’t get the latest toy craze. We’d squeal with joy that Santa came and brought us goodies. Those were my favorite childhood memories.
A few years passed, we moved into different apartments, and that Christmas lights tree got replaced by a fake mini table top tree. I swear that thing must have only been 2 feet tall. And as we got older and found out Santa was mommy all along, the presents also stopped. It was ok though… Christmas isn’t about gifts.
Another several years passed and my parents finally moved into their first house (while I moved into my own apartment). This time, the tiny tree was replaced with a (slightly) bigger, fancier light-up tree. But still fake.
We never did graduate to real trees. This tradition just seemed to have escaped us. But we also never felt like we were missing out… Christmas isn’t about trees either.
But this year seems to be calling for something more… perhaps a year to visit traditions before going off into the world for a few unconventional years. This holiday season is a strange and bittersweet mix of firsts and lasts – our first year celebrating the holidays as a couple and also our last Christmas in the house (and maybe even the States) for an indefinite period of time. And so I wanted to indulge in this great American tradition for the first and (maybe) last time.
So D and I brought home a little tree. It’s small, it has a bald spot, but it’s perfect. We don’t have presents for each other under the tree, but we don’t need gifts to prove anything. Christmas is about cherishing those we love and a reminder to create our own magical moments.
For at the end of another brutally long work day, nothing makes me happier than coming home to a warm hug and golden lights stringed around a little Christmas tree.
And D always remembers to turn on the lights for me.
Merry Christmas everyone! May yours be filled with joy and magic this season and always!