As Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, my mind has begun to drift into thinking about Christmas. I love decorating the house! And while we are not quite up to Griswold status, I think we do quite a fair job.
One of my favorite holiday memories is that of helping my Grandma put up her Christmas tree. There was just something so magical about it. But, I have noticed quite a shift within my own family and can’t help but wonder if others are experiencing the same thing.
The quest for tree perfection has now taken the place of fun, family bonding time. Complaints can be heard throughout the entire tree set up process. Groaning as the tree is dragged in from the garage. Mumbling as the “heavy” tree is lifted from its box. A few curse words upon plugging the tree in only to find that an entire strand of lights remains dark.
After the lights have been fixed, it is time for the ornaments to be hung. Instead of being able to hang them anywhere (as I once could), I am now informed, “No, no. Not there. Over there.”
Did you know that there is a correct way to hang an ornament hook? Typically, I like to close the end of the hook that holds the ornament by bending it in towards the hook body. I also like to close the top portion of the hook firmly around the branch on which the ornament is placed. I have seen too many ornaments slide off of the tree from simply placing the ornament on a branch.
This caused quite a commotion. “What are you doing to the hooks? How am I supposed to get this off of here?” Funny, I thought we were focusing on putting UP the tree, not thinking about taking it down.
Then, the arguing begins. Person A does not like how Person B is stringing the lights. Person B does not like how Person A is hanging the ornaments. Inevitably, a fight ensues. I can no longer hear the Christmas music playing. And I wonder, why does the tree have to be “perfect?”
I must admit, I used to be like Person A and B above. I thought that my tree needed to be put up my way. Certain ornaments HAD to be placed in specific spots. Garland MUST be draped in such a way.
Then I realized, it doesn’t matter how the lights are strung or where the ornaments are hung. It’s about the time you spend with those you love.
Bless my wonderful husband for pointing this out to me. After helping Grandma put up her tree and then my mom put up hers, I was usually so angry and frazzled from the day’s events that putting our own up was a nightmare. But, Matt then convinced me to put up our tree a bit earlier than my family’s standard tradition.
Gritting my teeth, I allowed him to drag the tree in last year. I was convinced that it wasn’t going to be the same. And you know what? It wasn’t. It was…so much better!
Music was blasting, we were dancing, singing and laughing. And we even stopped to smooch several times when we found a particularly sentimental ornament. We had FUN!
I found out that it didn’t matter if Winnie-the-Pooh’s honey pot was at the top or bottom of the tree. Yoda can mingle with Snoopy and Woodstock. As long as the ornaments I cared about were somewhere on the green monstrosity, I was happy.
My idea of the “perfect” Christmas tree has been forever changed. It no longer needs to look like a photo from a Macy’s catalog. What matters most is that the tree is dressed with the most important decoration of all: love.
Happy tree trimming!