I remember when I was a kid and it seemed like Christmas would take forever to get here! Now, as an adult, it seems like each year Christmas comes faster and faster – never leaving enough time to get everything done. The shopping, Christmas cards, baking, holiday gatherings and events are enough to make your head spin. I can’t even imagine how much quicker it would seem if I had children in the house or parties to plan!
Yet still, I have always loved this season and look forward to it every year…except for this one!
I have admittedly not been feeling much holiday cheer this season. It started well before Thanksgiving – the dread! Emotions flowing over as I think of my Mom and Dad, knowing we are not able to spend Christmas with either of our families, not to mention the thought of the normal stress that comes with this time of year. I was done with it before the season was even upon us!
My husband, a Grinch to the bone, wasn’t so sad to hear that I was hoping to low-key it this year! A quiet, less frantic time was just fine with him, so he was quick to agree when I said I wasn’t planning much for the holiday. We aren’t big present buyers anyway and with it just being us this year at home, we decided we would downsize the holidays even further. Presents for the kids of the family and a nice quiet Christmas, just the two of us. I knew this year was going to be difficult and as is my norm, I’m usually better at withdrawing when I’m sad than at pulling myself up by the bootstraps and making the most of the holiday!
As I mentioned in a previous post, it was my sister that got me really thinking about Christmas and what it meant to my parents. It was her urging that brought me a bit out of my funk. One small tree in the bay window led to a few more cherished decorations in the living room, then lights on the front bushes and a decision to go ahead with a small gift exchange and presents for my in laws. I have to admit, my spirits are a little perkier – a little!
So let me tell you about my Christmas tree!
It is a very inexpensive artificial 4 ½ foot pre-lit tree that drops “needles” at the bat of an eyelash. I got it several years ago in an after-holiday sale simply because it was so darn cheap! I couldn’t pass it up! Since then the tree has been put up annually to display a beautiful collection of ornaments, exchanged with my “BFFs” as part of our holiday get-togethers. The tree is always topped with a very special angel – more about that later.
I have a full 8 foot tree that we would put up on the years when we didn’t travel to visit my family for Christmas. That tree has always been decorated with ornaments that were given to me each year by my Mom, and a few special items that my husband and I have gotten over the years from friends or places we have visited. I don’t like tinsel or those big boxes of look-alike shiny ornaments. This tree is eclectic – just the way I like it.
Though we are home this year, I just didn’t have the heart or drive to put up that big tree. At the same time, I needed to see my Mom’s ornaments! So up went that good old 4 footer – falling needles, broken lights and all! But what to do about my BFF ornaments? I suppose I could have kept them packed for just this year – that would be understandable. Then I had a thought. I started with the box of Mom’s ornaments and strategically placed them on the tree branches. Then, I went through my BFF ornament box and selected out one for each of my friends represented – the one that most reminded me of that person.
Then there is my Angel – a very special story!
Many years ago, when we lived in Tampa, I had a wonderful girl who worked for me as a team lead. She was a very quiet, soft-spoken girl who was always thinking of others. That particular Christmas, she was especially excited because she had gotten a set of hand-made Angel tree-toppers – with crocheted wings and a head of curled cloth for hair. She had gotten one for herself, and one for her Mom and each of her sisters. She had them for some time before the season and was anxiously waiting to give them to her family just before the holiday. Sadly, her Mom fell sick just before Christmas and passed away. When she returned to work, she handed me a wrapped box. When I opened it, there was one of the Angels – the one she had gotten for her Mom. She said that she wanted me to have it, for supporting her through such a difficult time. That Angel has sat atop my tree every year since. This year it is more special than she will ever know!
It is heart warming to look at that tree, even comforting. All those memories of my Mom are surrounded by reminders of special friends who have helped me so much in dealing with her loss. And at the top is that beautiful Angel – more touching this year than any other. I sit at night, just drinking in the meaning of that tree and remembering how truly blessed I am!
I am missing my parents terribly, but putting up that tree helped to remind me that I am loved and surrounded by wonderful people who care about me! And while I was not feeling the spirit of the holiday, that tree has saved Christmas for me this year. I don’t think I could ask for more than that!