You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their Christmas tree.
The tree itself tells a story. Fake tree, no tree, Charlie Brown one or cultivated bushy pine all give hints of the person buying (or chopping) them.
Then there are the decorations:
- Lights- how many, what colour?
- Balls- coordinated, glass, bouncy or any?
- Decor- matchy, Christmasy, heirlooms, themed, cartoony, silly, funny, stuffy, classy?
And how you place them too tells a tale. Crammed or applied sparingly? Spread evenly or bottom-heavy? Orderly or not? Around the entire tree or concentrated where we can see?
Oh Christmas Trees, as varied as the world’s people…
Our tree tells a lot about our family. Both in its execution and in the stories that come with each decoration.
First off our tree has to be real. For the smell and the ritual and the beauty. Our lights our multi-coloured lights because I can’t remember ever having a tree that didn’t have them and because the colours just scream CHRISTMAS to me. White lights are pretty and classy but that is not us. Pretty crazy maybe but not pretty classy…
Our decorations are as diverse and varied as the places we’ve traveled. Our first Christmas together, Bal bought me a rotating Parachuting Santa for our mini tree. We didn’t know then that this symbolic leap of faith was the start of our leap of faith of a life together forever. Every year since, we have bought a decoration that tells a story of that year. Usually this has meant buying something from around the world that we could claim was a legit Christmas decoration. Like a tartan pin or a Korean tassle, a Peruvian doll or a Cirque du Soleil clown. Three of my favorites are the funky robot toys bought in San Francisco.
Then the kids came. The first, an engraved ‘Baby’s 1st Christmas’ Noah’s Ark ornament. Then a giraffe and a penguin. Now she’s 3 and making her own ornaments and adding baby toys onto the tree for Brennyn. Now she can help decorate which means 75% of the decorations are placed in one bottom corner of the tree. 65% of those are taken off repeatedly to be played with and moved and used to play ‘pretend’. There are no breakables here.
These decorations, these traditions are being passed on every year. The stories and laughs retold over and over. The bird, for my Gramma, who every year insisted those birds out the window are Santa’s lil’ helpers checking to see if you are naughty or nice. Kaya’s penguin obsession of ’08. The Storm of the Century in LA for Bal’s 30th birthday. These to be told every year, adding more and more, until my girls meet the guys who buy them their first decoration.
When old traditions combine with new. Then I will look at my girls trees, their very own trees, and I will smile, knowing that I am learning just a little bit more about their lives, their souls.