I have never had what would be called a "beautiful" Christmas tree. I think it would be more accurately called a "Christmas Catastrophe in a wobbly stand-with lights."
I know the perfectionists out there are cringing as they picture the visual of it. I come from a long line of perfect trees and have never been able to create one of my own. Not that I haven't tried-it just never works out that way.
Christmas years ago, my first truly in an adult world, I had a Charlie Brown tree with missing branches and I made the ornaments all myself. I strung popcorn for hours (because wasn't that supposed to be fun and no one ever told me it took HOURS to do it) only to have the dog eat most of it off the tree. It was also when I learned tinsel on a tree is not a good thing to have when you have animals-they like to eat it. And how I realized this was by chasing the darn dog through the house with paper towels trying to catch the sparkly dingle berry dangling from her butt when she came in from outside.
I have always let the children decorate the tree because they enjoyed it so much. Many years there were a hundred blue balls on three branches in a cluster, GI Joes were tucked inside or hanging from limbs, old beat up cars and torn teddy bears, along with homemade hair cut Barbie adorned my tree. Half eaten candy canes were hung back up as children snuck in a bite or two. It was truly pitiful each year to see the mangling of what our symbol of Christmas became. Yet each year, the crowning glory was set beneath the tree-the Nativity that I had every Christmas since I became an adult. The pieces were constantly being replaced as odd happenings destroyed them one by one-except for cheap clear glass baby Jesus.
We lived in a house with hardwood floors years ago and the dog knocked the tree and smashed every ornament. I replaced them all only to have an unruly child come to call pull it down shattering everything once again in a crescendo of breaking glass. Friends and family donated ornaments, all unbreakable, to the chaos of our holiday that year. Only those dear ornaments were ruined in a flood a few years later.
My last big tree of horror was left at my old house, along with the few treasures I had managed to salvage each year out of our Christmas's of destruction, when we moved to this apartment. I forgot them and it broke my heart to not have the handmade ornaments of the children that had survived the years. And my Nativity-yes it was pathetic and pitiful-but it was a tradition.
Last year, my sister (let's just say she is a Christmas freak) felt terrible I had no tree and brought me a tiny tree with tiny ornaments to put up even though I was not in the mood for it. My silly daughter decided to further decorate it with baby pictures of herself which made us laugh. That tree, I gave to one of my client's, who recently moved on her own so she would have a tree for Christmas. I decided to buy a new tree but had little money to do it.
I decorated our little tree with cheap silver balls and sparkly silver angels and even tinsel for the first time in over twenty years since we have no pets now to eat it-and the bottom of it is bare of the Nativity which bothered me. But Jesus can be a bit sneaky and however much we may forget about him while we celebrate his birthday-he doesn't forget about us.
I was doing dishes and then went to wipe off the microwave. I had no idea what my hand knocked against. It was the cheap clear glass baby Jesus sitting up on my microwave collecting dust. I have no idea where he came from. I have lived in this apartment almost two years and have no idea how in the world he got here. I put him under my tree. Yes, it looks a bit ridiculous to only have this one piece there, but it is the most important one. Sneaky baby Jesus, you truly are the reason for the season.
Monika M. Basile