Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Real, 100% Grown-up Christmas Tree.

Every year, I tell myself "This is it!  This is the year. This is the year I will finally  have a real, 100% grown-up Christmas tree."  I'm sure you've seen them.  In fact, you are probably sitting by one right now.  A real, 100% grown up Christmas tree is a thing of beauty.  To start with, there is generally a theme or at the very least, a color scheme.  The ornaments and garland and ribbons and doo-dads and tree skirt all match  - or else they work well together. Then there's this thing called balance. You know, where the ornaments are evenly distributed around the tree?  No wads of 5 items on one branch with a giant bare spot underneath. No droopy ribbon or tangled beads. Oh and best of all, a real, 100% grownup Christmas tree is something you decorate one time.  Once.  That's it.  And then you are done for the year.  There is no need to take most of the things off for the sheer "joy" of putting them all back on at least 3 times a day.

Have you guessed by now that our tree is the complete opposite of all these things?  First of all, it's crooked and the star is wobbly. There's no hope for it.   It just is.  Secondly, I can promise you there is no theme and certainly no matching.  Last year, I splurged and bought a box of red "shattterproof" balls and some red ribbon just to bring a semblance of order.  The motliness (not sure if that's a word) all started years ago when my husband and I celebreated our first Christmas together.  We thought it would be such a romantic idea to pick out a new ornament every year - something that symbolized the year past.   All this was well and good until Baby #1 came along.  She obviously needed her first ornament, so we started collecting one for her each year as well.  A few more calenders later, our family has grown and so has the ornament collection.  Each one is dearly treasured, but there certainly is no rhyme or reason to any of it.
There's the rooster ornament.  We couldn't help picking this up after our first year in South Carolina.  Our first home here was a teeny-tiny trailer back in the boonies.  Our neighbors had chickens.  Free-range chickens.  How sweet you say?  Without fail, these chickens ranged right under our bedroom window every morning about 4:30am when they thought it was time to start the day.  Raucous crowing made the most obnoxious alarm clock either one of us had ever heard.

There's our snowman one - the first year we had a baby.  Seems like just the other day I stood and watched a craft fair vendor personalize this for me, but that baby is about to turn 11 years old.  Sigh.

The Sesame Street Collection.  Every two year old who has ever lived in this family, has been obsessed with Cookie Monster and Elmo.  We've got proof right here. 

I said earlier that these ornaments are treasured.  Believe me, they are.  To my kids, one of the best parts of early December is getting reacquainted with their beloved mementos which have been packed away for the past year. Somehow it really doesn't matter what color they are or what their theme is, because they all symbolize a memory to my kids.  The kids are in charge of  hanging the ornaments on the tree.  Some, all in one spot.  The next day, or even 10 minutes later, they take them back off to oooh and ahh some more and hang them all again.  This time a  little different.  The ribbon gets tangled or dragged to one side.  There are bare spots.  But the lights of this motley tree are reflecting in the eyes of  very happy  children who think this is the most beautiful tree ever.   I used to be picky.  I'd hang the ornaments all myself.  Evenly.  The ribbon swooped in exactly the right spots, there were no bare spots.  The kids were NOT allowed to touch or even breathe too close to my tree.  It was a stressful thing.  Somewhere, I decided it wasn't worth it anymore.  So what if the tree is motley?  My children love it,  I'm not stressed and tree makes us all smile.  Someday, I'll get that real 100% Christmas tree.  Until then, motley will suit me just fine.


  1. Hehehe. I let the boys put several of the ornaments on this year. I left the room and came back to them all gathered on two branches... I admit, after they went to bed I 'fixed' them. However, I sense that there is still some 'redecorating' going on from time to time. You and Anson gave us a beautiful handblown glass ornament the first year we were married. I think Smudge knocked it off and broke it the 2nd or 3rd year we put it up :( So sad.

  2. I also let the boys decorate our tree. They have so much fun putting the ornaments on and look forward to it every year. Last year I found a DVD, a book and a few other toys stuck in with the ornaments! Like you, I fiqure that some day I'll have the "perfect" looking tree, but for now I'll let the kids enjoy their tree!

  3. The 100% adult tree is overrated, Wren, I love my 100% family heirloom tree... it is a hodgepodge of ornaments to include my baby's first Christmas,and ornaments that I hand made when times were tough... there is an ornament from my great grand mother and one to commememorate each year of my children's life... I could not do the "adult" tree and throw out family history.

  4. Love your tree! I love the hodge-podge of ornaments. I always thinks it makes it more interesting. We collect ornaments for special mile markers and also when we go traveling. Rather than having souvenirs scattered about the house all year we remember it all as we decorate the tree each year. I fear though that I AM one of those moms who fixes things when the child goes to bed. :p With just one kid in the house it's a bit easier. I put the ornaments on the top part of the tree and she does the ones within her reach. Anyway, sounds like you are a great mom who grows with her family and your kids are fortunate little things! - Monica K.