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My Tree

Last week I was flipping through a favorite magazine, one that regularly features impressive decorating. The Christmas issue is a feast for the eyes. In this issue, I flipped through one article, in particular, that shared some detailed photos of a family’s spectacular Christmas tree.

Let me tell you, these people are serious about their tree.

Every year, the article explained, their tree has a theme. A THEME! Sometimes it’s a color scheme. Sometimes it’s a motif, like candy or angels. It is perfectly color coordinated, there is an artfully arranged bow right at the top, and the shimmery strands of ribbon cascade at even intervals down the sides. It is a sight to behold. I expect if I went over to these people’s house, I would spend a good deal of time admiring their tree (with a theme! A THEME!)

And then I would get back in my car and drive home and curl up in my pajamas next to my tree.

My tree. My very imperfect tree.

My tree that is painfully lopsided because it was assembled this year by three boys under the age of twelve, who paused in their tree assembly only long enough to conduct sword fights with the branches.

My tree that, thanks to the lopsidedness, now has a book stuck under the front brace, but it’s okay, because it’s a Christmas book, so we’re just calling it a motif.

My tree with the silver snowflake ornaments, the ones that my husband’s grandmother gave to him. The ones that, some years, I manage to polish before hanging and most years I don’t so we just hang them anyway, tarnish and all.

My tree that doesn’t have a garland on it because we forgot it.

My tree, which holds my favorite (and very banged up) Mrs. Claus ornament from my childhood. The one my brother and I fought over hanging every year, but I win (!), because it’s on my tree now.

My tree which occasionally stinks, because the cheeky four-year-old girl in the house has been known to hide sippy cups deep in the branches.

My tree that has several construction-paper-and-glitter ornaments made by little fingers, most featuring a school photo of a snaggle-toothed kid.

My tree. My very imperfect tree.

There is no theme, unless hodge-podge is a theme. There is certainly very little about it that would be considered artful. But I wouldn’t trade it for all the perfect trees in all the perfect magazines, because it’s a bearer of memories and tarnish and chipped paint and fingerprints from my family’s past.

It is mine. And that’s enough.


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