Because we entertain considerably during the holiday season and at one point last year during Christmas Day we had seventy plus people in our home, we’ve made the decision to put up a non-obstrusive Christmas tree.
It is everything that life did not make me – tall, pencil thin and somewhat glamorous in a Grinch sort of way.
Because it is small, it can’t hold up all of the ornaments that Yvonne and I have amassed through the years, but it holds up enough of our history to tell our story and that of our family.
Last night was our ornament hanging party where we got together and my nephew Christopher, thirty-one years young, hangs up the hideous Ninja Turtle ornament on one of front branches of our tree – he selected this ornament in 1990; my niece Hilary hangs up her broken Butterfly, my pseudo daughter-in-law hangs up her frame ornament with her wedding pic and my Grandsomeones, Sophia and Little Christopher, hang up their respective Minnie Mouse and Choo-Choo train collectibles while my mom and sister simply hang outside smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Yvonne and I have the little bear in the I Love You box, Scarlett O’ Hara, Miss Gulch, the broken bicycle, the Coca Cola bottle cap, the drama masks, the music notes and so many others that bring a host of memories to mind.
Our motto for Christmas tree decorating is more is more, fit as much as you can and tell your story. Our trees don’t reflect symmetry or consistency, nothing matches and it is generally a smorgasbord of Merry.
But it is ours. It is beautiful. And it is blessed.
That tree tells the story of me and mine in a way that this humble writer could never capture in words. My people, my loves, my friends, my family are on that tree and every year I’m afraid it might topple over because there is always one more ornament that needs to go on one of the crowded branches.
My hope for this year is that we all have many crowded branches, that we have so much to commemorate and remember that our lives remain full and joyous. Last night, when I asked my little Christopher where he wanted to hang his train ornament and he said, ‘I want mine next to Papa,’ I realized that ugly notwithstanding, the Ninja Turtle ornament stays and he is staying on that front branch.
My life and my heart are on that tree and this heart has enough to share with everyone, even those hard shelled uglies known as Leo, Donnie, Mickey and Raph.
They will forever crowd the branches of my life.