the most wonderful time of the year

Day 27: Tree

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: I love Christmas. I love all things associated with Christmas–decorations, music, gift-giving, gift-making, gift-wrapping, holiday crafty projects.

To clarify: I do not love holiday shopping. I shop year-round specifically to avoid having to step foot into the mall from Halloween until January.

My two favorite things are Christmas music, which I listen to year-round, and Christmas lights. I’m like a three-year-old when it comes to lights. I love them. Can’t get enough of them. Just having them up makes me happy. Like, little kid giddy happy.

One thing I look forward to most about having a house someday is being able to put up Christmas lights. I won’t be the obnoxious house you can see from space, but you can bet I’ll have a pretty solid glow going on. For now, we decked out the little fence on the patio and every time I catch a glimpse of it as I’m coming down the street, I grin.

Another thing I look forward to is having a big, real tree. We always had real trees growing up, and my parents still go out the Sunday after Thanksgiving to cut their tree. I love the smell of a freshly cut tree, and the fun of tromping around looking for one that is just right. We don’t have a vehicle large enough to safely transport a freshly cut tree. Trust me, I’ve tried. It wasn’t pretty. But, someday.

This year, our tree is a skinny little guy I bought at my parents’ gift store years ago. Even though it isn’t real, it’s still the best tree. From top to bottom, the tree is 100% pure Munt.*

The angel that sits on the top is a replica of the angel from my parents’ tree. My mom made hers from a pattern just after she and my dad were married, and every year, one of the kids had the honor of putting the angel on top the tree. A few years ago, my mom dug out the pattern and I made one for us and one for my sister. Every time I look at her, I think of my mom.

And then there are the ornaments. Every ornament on our tree has a story. The ornaments are priceless to me. If my apartment is on fire and I have thirty seconds to evacuate, I spent 25 seconds herding the boogies into a carrier and five seconds madly grabbing the ornament boxes. They are precious.

Let me walk you through this photo. At the top, you can barely see Strawberry Shortcake’s feet. My mother gave me this ornament as a very young child and I cherished it. It was breakable so it was always at the top of the tree. A few years ago, she took it off of her tree and gave it to me. I cried.

The funky goldfish was a gift from Mr. Phish’s mom. It’s a blown-out egg that has been decorated with such kindness and care. The girl who creates them is from Mr. Phish’s hometown.

Moo made the foam tree ornament for me last year. I cried, again.

Each of the boogies has an ornament on the tree. I made them many years ago, when we first rescued each of them.

The snowman is homemade, from the years when I was getting my master’s degree. I was completely broke, so I made homemade ornaments for my family and friends. There is a snowman, an angel, and a very cute penguin made from a popsicle stick.

The marshmallow snowman is from Estes Park, the last time I was there. It’s been more than ten years (sniff, sniff).

I brought the Golden Gate ornament home with me from San Francisco when I was there three or four years back to present a paper at a conference. So it reminds me of San Fran and of my former life as an academic.

I could go on and on. There are ornaments from our wedding, from my trip to Switzerland, from every school I’ve attended. Each one is tied to a memory and that’s part of why I love Christmas so much. Because sometimes the day-to-day of life wears me out, and I get down about where I’m at in life and the fact that things aren’t going as I thought they would.

But it’s impossible to be down in the dumps when I’m surrounded by such beautiful reminders of where I’ve been and what I’ve done and who I love. If I had my way, I would keep the tree and the lights up all year.

*Munt is the mashup of my last name and Mr. Phish’s last name. We use it as our imaginary shared last name from time to time because we find it hilarious.

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