So I purchased my first Christmas tree in over 8 years. This was a big step for me.
Before you call me Scrooge, let me explain.
See, I have this thing about Christmas trees. Or rather abandoned Christmas trees. Every year around the beginning of December I see families, full of yuletide cheer, spend time looking for that perfect tree to proudly display as a symbol of the season in their homes. For about a month, these trees are then decorated, adored, photographed, even loved.
Then comes January. These same families that have taken these living trees into their homes have now decided that the affair is over. The presents have all been opened. The decorations come down. The lights are stored for another year. And that tree is kicked to the curb patiently waiting for the trashman to take it to it's final resting place. Nothing makes me more sad than driving around the neighborhood come January taking in the crushing vision of all these discarded trees. Where did the love go?
I don't mean to anthropomorphize the trees. Seriously. I understand that the trees don't actually realize they are being abandoned or anything. Duh. I acknowledge they know not of their being used for a small amount of time to please it's master and then thrown away like last week's leftovers. I also recognize that if left in the home, said tree would more than likely spontaneously combust at some point. And that would be bad. I may be insane, but I am not illogical.
Aside from my obvious deep-seeded abandonment issues, I think for me the sadness of seeing those dying trees on the curb each year are more a symbol of society and how we are a society that easily disregards things. Now I won't go off on a rant about that, that's another talk show, er blog, but it just gets me thinking about how easy it is for humans to seek gratification without much regard for consequence. I mean, it's easy to love shiny new things--cars, shoes, clothes, toys, relationships--but when we grow tired of these things, we think nothing of discarding them. We either replace them, or move on to the next shiny new thing. But I digress...
Eight years ago when I met Jimmy, I cautiously explained to him about my tree issue as the holidays drew near. When he didn't run screaming down the street to get far, far away from the crazy lady, I knew he was a keeper. In fact, he agreed with me and said he felt the same way. I accept that this may make me the Grinch in many eyes, but then again, we all have our issues.
Jimmy and Dawn, his roomate at the time, threw a Christmas party that year and I flew out to Austin to attend. Upon arriving I saw one of the happiest things I had ever seen. Rather than bring a shiny new tree into the house, Dawn had instead painted a dying ficus she had with silver spray paint. She hung lights and ornaments on it and called it a Christmas tree. This to me symbolized the opposite of the sadness I would see each January. She took something that would otherwise have been abandoned and realized it still had potential. To this day it remains the most memorable Christmas party I have ever attended, regardless of the fact that it was also the same weekend I first fell in love with my husband. I believe that this is how traditions are created.
Jimmy and I have never seen the need to purchase a Christmas tree throughout the years. More so than my tree abandonment issues, it's because we are too lazy to go through all the tree hassle. That and we don't have kids. And we have a cat. Cat + Tree = Nothing Good. But since we were thisclose to becoming parents a couple months back we started to have that conversation. The one where we wanted to give our future kids a traditional Christmas. I do remember loving Christmas trees when I was a litte girl. The lights, the smell, the awe of it all. The trees are truly magical.
So, this year is a small experiment for me. The tree I bought is only three feet tall. And it's not real. I am not there yet. This year's tree is about taking baby steps in the hopes that someday soon, we will be able to share Christmas tree magic with our future children. I don't know what tree traditions we will have at that time, but I do know that right now we have a small, minimally decorated, tree here with us that makes me smile when I look at it.