Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree

Yesterday I woke up to our first real snowfall. I knew snow was predicted overnight, so I looked out the window as soon as I came downstairs with the same anticipation a child might look for evidence of Santa Claus. Waking up to the blanket of snow got me a little more into the spirit of the season, enough to motivate me to make several (2 floor!) trips to my storage bin in the basement to retrieve my Christmas tree and ornaments and decorations.

Yes, I have an artificial tree, whispered in contempt by some as I might say white zinfandel, and I love it. I don't have to venture out to a tree farm and cut down a tree (or, more likely, ask my father to) or attempt to tie a pre-cut tree to my car using some combination of bungees and ropes and rely on knot-tying skills I never had to learn in Girl Scouts. And batting my eyelashes and playing helpless girl is a role I'm neither familiar with nor fond of. Living alone lends itself to a tree that comes in a box, and the one I have is perfect for me. It's small enough to fit between my living room and dining area, and tall enough to fit the ornaments I've collected over the years.

It took all day to decorate the tree and my house, mainly because I let it. I like to take the time to unwrap ornaments and marvel at them again, sit with the memories they bring back to me, and find their perfect places on the tree. Among my favorites are the sparkly key I bought the year I bought my car, the same year I went to Europe and bought a Big Ben ornament in England and a painted ceramic bulb in Florence. I have an adorable Lolita "fashionista" martini glass ornament from my friend Amy, and an ornament that looks like a purse. I have a set of engraved silver stars: love, joy, hope, and peace. I love the rag doll ornament I got from my "angel sister" my freshman year at Simmons (were we ever PC!), and still remember that it was from Carrie (who I also remember volunteered at the New England Aquarium and went on to Tufts Vet School to became a veterinarian). I have several glittered pine cones (none real), a few snowmen ( again, oh never mind) and ornaments that look like chocolate dipped strawberries. My newest acquisition is a pearl covered heart.

Once I have everything perfectly placed on my tree, my growing collection of Christmas angels and ceramic snow people have found their seasonal homes on bookshelves and end tables, and Christmas candles scent the room, I turn off all my lamps and let all my other lights rest. I also usually turn off the TV and put on some music--if not Christmas carols, then Vivaldi. Last night I chose Christmas carols. (Okay, okay, I usually have an adult beverage close by as well.) I sit in the light of the tree and the flickers of candlelight, and allow myself the luxury of it all, enjoy the peace not afforded in the shopping malls at this time of year. I sit and try to be happy in my heart. I find it rather easy.

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