Our traditional tree trimming party~
I imagine that many families have their holiday traditions; and these are passed down through the generations and hopefully carried on. My family had a tree trimming party every year about 2 weeks before Christmas. This entailed getting the tree, spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get the tree to stand up straight in the green, plastic stand, and then a scratchy, frustrating hour stringing the lights. My sisters and I closed our eyes and held our breath, while we waited for dad to plug the lights in. If the lights did not work, the ornament hanging was further delayed while each light was checked.
Dad was a saint as he did the lion's share of this messy process. We just sort of stood around and tried to look helpful. Sometimes, one of us volunteered to pass the lights to him so he didn't have to reach around the back of the tree. Mom stayed out of the way and made the appetizers, and prepared the dinner.
Finally, when the tree was up, lights strung, fire lit, and appetizers set in the living room, we were allowed to hang the ornaments. We fought over who hung the favorites. The balls were always rearranged by mom, as we always put them too close together. After awhile, we would lose interest. Mom and dad would finish up and we would all sit by the fire admiring the tree, followed by a scrumptious dinner. The memories are magical-- family, being together and the anticipation of Christmas.
I've maintained the tree trimming tradition -- albeit it has been improvised through the years. The saddest time was when the kids and I hauled the tree into the house by ourselves. For years we cut our own and I loved watching them run to and fro looking for the perfect tree to cut. Like dad, I became the one to struggle with the prickly tree, with Max and Zoe half-heartedly helping me. Some years, I had to resort to string and nails to hold the darn thing up straight. But, we carried on the tree trimming tradition.
This year my daughter and her friends fetched the tree. It is leaning against the wall in its stand awaiting Andy and I. Together, we will stand it straight, string the lights and the kids will place the ornaments. I am overwhelmed right now with gratitude that Andy is with us, part of the family, and I am not alone. Christmas music will play, our favorite appetizers will be made, and the kids, Andy, our friend Lynne and I will hang ornaments.
They will lose interest. I will hang the last ornaments, perfectly positioning them to balance the tree (like my mom) and I will smile and admire the tree. Every night until Christmas, I will sit on the sofa with only the Christmas lights on, loving that tree feeling the spirit of Christmas -- new love, family, friends, and thankful for this life that has been gifted to me.