Sunday, December 6, 2009

O, Christmas Tree

It's so fun learning new things about each other as we move through our first year of marriage and living together. Case in point? Christmas. B knows I love Christmas. Not the gifts, but the family, food, and, of course, the tree. The moment he mentioned getting a tree, I went nuts.

First, because he said it had to be a real tree. Woohoo! First, I should point out that my Christmas faux-ficas stayed decorated year-round with Christmas apparel. Second, I should note that B keeps his tree, Tanner, in the living room year-round to the point where we don't even notice him anymore. Did I mention that he's a fiberoptic light-up tree? Yes indeed.

So he mentioned tree, I went nuts, and off to Home Depot we went to find a 6-7 foot frasier fir. After making him haul out roughly half a dozen of Home Depot's finest, we settled on one that was perfect-- just tall enough (with his Grandma's hand-me-down angel proudly on top) and
not too thick (we are in an apartment, after all).

I stayed with the tree while B went inside to pay, telling the cashier that "At this point, she'd rather have a tree than a Christmas present, so I'm going with that." The guy bellowed laughing and told B, "Good luck with that!"

We (the royal "we") tied the tree on the roof of B's jeep and ran a few more errands before heading home. ("Hm, I wonder which car is ours, sweetie?" Tip: If you lose your car in parking lots, tie a piece of seven-foot greenery to the top of it. Problem solved!) Once at home, B unloaded the tree, got the stand on, and got him inside into his rightful corner
. We held off decorating that night to let the branches settle and I was a little bummed when the burritos we made that night chased the evergreen smell out of the apartment.

The next night, we sat down with our collection of ornaments and hand-me-down lights and got to decorating. I pulled out the white lights, to which B gasped, "No! White lights are for outside! Colored lights inside!" I shrugged and headed to the back porch without realizing what I'd done-- Mark my words, we'll have colored lights on the tree inside forever!! Like my sister said, "the person who waters the tree the first year waters it forever." Good luck with that, hon!

His lighting job was excellent and we loved looking over the ornaments we've collected. On our trips since May, we've tried to find something for our tree as kind of a gift for ourselves. We've got one from Little Dix, Charleston, San Francisco, and lots from our wedding, including about 30 of those little Williams-Sonoma metal pineapples.

So our tree is lovely (both of the, if you include Tanner, which we definitely do) and our porch is happy with its garland and white lights. Mom did something great this year, giving each of us kids a few strands of white lights. It was Dad's thing each year to put the lights out in the front yard and it would take him hours. We're talking several hours a day spread over the course of the week. I remember coming home after I got my acceptance to Princeton and finding the enormous "P" Dad had made in white lights on the front lawn. He always wanted to spell out the Alabama-Auburn score on the roof. That, dear readers, is where Mom drew the line.

She gave us each white lights as a wonderful reminder of Dad's devotion to the fun decoration of the holidays. The lights, and watering the tree, were always Dad's thing, and it's been fun to discover more as I remember them. We passed a stack of those basic, brick-like fruitcakes in Sam's and I remembered how Dad would happily, enthusiastically receive those as gifts, often buying himself more of them. And yes, he ate them.

This year, though November and our specific "season of thanksgiving" is long gone, I am so thankful for my family, both the one I grew up with and the one I married into. What a blessing to love and be loved, and to have to fight over what color lights go on a Christmas tree.

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