I’m a Christmas tree junkie. I love the big, fancily decorated trees at South Coast Plaza, (one complete with a kiddie train)! I love the comparatively simple one at the Malibu Country Mart. I love the pretty, white-lit, blue-and-silver color-coordinated tree at my friends G&M’s house. It looks so classy. But, of course, I reserve the best of my love for our own Christmas tree. I’ll be the first to admit the Martha Stewarts of the world would take one look at our tree and promptly convert. Aesthetically, it’s a mess. The star at the top tips to one side like a drunk uncle. The boughs droop under the weight of multi-colored lights and a jumble of ornaments of every size, style and color. But what nobody except Hubs and I fully appreciate is this seemingly humble tree’s ability to transport us through time. Because of our pets and the little guy, this year we hung the keepsake ornaments on the higher limbs, which left Kitty free to declare war on the cheap, and, as it turned out, breakable colored orbs Hubs and I probably spent a whole fiver on at Third Street Bazaar during one of our first Christmases together when we lived in NYC . This was approximately a hundred years ago, however, so they might have been antiques by now. My high school Espanol is rusty, but I believe, “Hecho en Mexico” translates into “rare antique.” Si?
As my eyes move up the tree, tucked along the side closest to the wall, I spy a small, tarnished brass bell with “Merry Christmas Samanthe, 1978” written along the rim. I’m transported to the Christmas Store at the mall in Hagerstown, Maryland, where my parents bought matching ornaments for my sister and me and we watched the man painstakingly engrave them while we waited. Regrettably, this ornament always gets relegated to the back of the tree because I like to think most people assume my first Christmas occurred sometime in the early 1980’s. Nobody actually assumes this, but I like to think they do. I see ornaments collected over the years from co-workers, friends, and a bunch from my mom, who traditionally includes an ornament in the Christmas gift splurge. The year 2008 is well-represented on our tree, in the form of several “Baby’s First Christmas,” ornaments. And, now, we have a few quirky, crafty, homespun ornaments wrought by clumsy little hands, (no, not mine), and an expertly wielded glue gun, (again, not me, but various preschool teachers). Looking at them shifts my Christmas Tree Time Machine into the future. I envision those ornaments hanging on another tree, in another house, and a not-so-little guy explaining to his own kiddos how he made them when he was small…and his crazy mother saved them all these years. Then, hopefully, they’ll pile into their flying car and visit Hubs and me at the old folks’ home. I hope your holiday season affords you a chance to revisit many happy memories and forge a few new ones!