Monday, January 02, 2006

LC's Tree: From the 'Rents

This ornament -- pretty but not particularly remarkable -- is one of a set that my parents bought for their very first Christmas tree.

At the time, in the early 50's, they were living in a trailer next to my grandparents' farmhouse, which would later become their home. My mother reports that those first trees tended to be of the Charlie Brown style, and small enough to fit in the little Airstream.

My parents did not have an Ozzie-and-Harriet relationship, and Christmas was not always a particularly happy time at our house. But the day the Christmas tree went up was always a good day. My father usually went to the tree farm himself and cut the tree; he was very particular about getting one as near to perfect in symmetry as possible, and also obsessive about stringing the lights in just the right way. Once that was done it was my mother's turn to put on the ornaments. (Until I was high-school age my only contribution to this endeavor was as an ornament unwrapper and go-fer.) My dad -- perhaps thinking back to his own childhood Christmas Eves when my grandmother would literally chase the kids outside, lock the doors and pull down the shades until the tree was decorated and the candles lit -- would always find something to do outside while my mom took her turn with the tree adornment. Then he'd come inside, gaze upon the finished display, and murmur, "Not bad."

Sometimes when I'm feeling a little moony and sentimental I wish I had a Sweet Baboo with whom to engage in domestic rituals like this. mother has really enjoyed our Christmas tree this year, so it was worth doing, even if this isn't exactly the Kodak moment I had in my head a decade ago when I'd imagine my future. And even if I lived all by myself I'd still decorate a Christmas tree. And it would be...not bad. Not bad at all.

A parental ornament Posted by Picasa


RuthRE said...

Growing up I always insisted on a little fake tree in my room, that I enjoyed decorating.

It carried over into college, and even when I lived in NYC for a little while in what equated to a closet in size, I had a little mini tree.

Now back in new england I have my own condo...and I do a full tree. Fake (I'd never remember to water, or clean sap well enough) but full.

Other single friends of mine have said they don't have one because "who's going to see it?" I'd never ask that question, I LOVE trees.

Michael said...

My parents will celebrate 59 years of marriage next week. My first Christmas was with them in a trailer on my grandfather's farm -- and one lonely little ornament survives from that 55-years-ago event. It still appears every year, and since it was always there for my younger brother, too, we make a fuss every year of finding it when we visit my folks. It has lost almost all its gold now and looks dark and lost in the tree. But it is a reminder...

Anonymous said...

I live by myself and ask every year whether it is "worth it" to put up my 3-foot fake tree. (I may have my Mom and sister over maybe once during the holidays, and that's about it.)

But I think that it is important to do for me. There are lots of things one can stop doing "because it's just me," and it can get to be a bit of a slippery slope. It feels like the effort of putting up the tree somehow keeps me connected to the rest of society.