I am really not having a Clark Griswold moment, but with everything on my mind I don’t feel like I’m being very efficient. I hold back the bah humbug because I know what this means to my mom and it does bring back so many memories from every year I can remember. When I was young I would put up my grandparents tree with my brothers and eventually it was just up to me to get it done. Their tree was simple, a basic artificial tree, with ornaments that were not glamorous to say the least; they were simple and sort of beat up really. I remember thinking, why did they keep these old, plain, plastic, and very unremarkable ornaments? I came to learn that some of them were very old and from a time in our nation’s history when nice things weren’t very available; between them living through the depression and two world wars, they didn’t have many fancy things. They lived till they were very old with these things that I couldn’t understand when I was very young; I do remember having a fondness for them in a strange curious way because they were unlike anything I was used to seeing. Every time I put up a tree I think of them and I wish I’d had the presence of mind to have kept them after they died; at least I still have the memories.
Now the next problem I have once the tree is done, I don’t have any gifts to place under it. That is a particular problem this year as the family has decided to draw names for gifts and reduce the carnage that was the gift for everyone marathon. Now we will have more time to spend with each other, but it has created a giftless tree. I have decided to get a few gifts anyway for my mother so she has the feeling of completeness that a Christmas tree has once it’s adorned with some mysteriously wrapped boxes. Now I must embark on the journey that is shopping for presents, a task I usually enjoy; the quest for finding that perfect gift. My mind will be preoccupied until I get something under the tree, the image of a bare Christmas tree is sad. I remember the excitement I had once a few presents would find their way under our family tree; the search for the name on the box and maybe a little shake to gauge what may hide inside. I won’t lie and say I have never lost the thrill of opening my own gifts but I will say that I cherish just as much the giving to ones I love, when I have found the best present for a particular person and their expression shows their true surprise and joy; I experience just as much joy myself.
I know I may not have the true meaning of the season some might say, but that doesn’t bother me because each person’s experience is unique unto themselves and this is mine. I celebrate the season in a way that conforms to my family; we gather a few times a year as a whole and the time is precious. We all cringe sometimes under things we have to do, obligations and such, but in truth after we get there the time goes by way too quick.
Some say putting up the Christmas tree a month ahead of time is too early, but for me it is just a wishful extension of that family time we wish would last longer. Every time you look at the brightly lit tree, those lights spark memories that flood back from last year to your earliest childhood days, when the possibility that the unknown would turn into your fondest wish. Those days have passed but still the tree acts like a clarion call for everyone to gather and the best gift of all is time shared and those memories are recounted over and over. No matter what object you use, a tree, a minora, an old kitchen table, or a tradition that is specific to you and yours, keep in your mind and your heart what it truly represents even if you don’t say it aloud. Sometimes for those who struggle with the speaking of emotion, these excuses, are the best solutions to conveying what is not often said. So complain, wail, and moan about this time of year and all of your obligations that get in the way of what you are usually doing; just remember that the things we are usually doing are what we are usually complaining about. So I say to you, bring out your decorations and scream bah humbug, because I will be watching closely for the smiles that creep across your face when you have a great new moment and when you are blessed to remember all of those from the past, with all of those who aren’t here anymore and those who still remain. Once again with feeling…’Oh Christmas Tree’.