When I first moved out on my own my Christmas Tree was a source of great pride to me. It was color coordinated all gold and garnet, had a distinct angelic theme and was my baby. I bought decorations in my "theme" all year long, bows, angels, balls, ribbon, flowers, etc. I took my time putting my tree together, everything lovingly and methodically placed just where it should go, evenly spaced around and throughout the tree. Oh, and WHITE lights...no colored stuff for me, oh no...It was a work of art.
I was so excited the first year my husband helped me decorate the tree. We had been dating just about a year (we met at a New Year's Eve party) and I pictured Christmas Carols playing in the background, hot cocoa and us lovingly laughing and enjoying our first tree together. I guess I forgot how anal I can be, how set in my ways I had become, how much I enjoyed my tree being "perfect". It was a nightmare. I remember holding my breath and gritting my teeth as he clumped angels together, put large decorations up high and just haphazardly decorated. THEN, he brings me a "gift" for the tree: icicles...you know the strands of silver tinsel that you just "throw" on the tree? I lost it...I think I actually left the room before he could see the tears in my eyes...I know, obsess much? When he left on Monday morning to go back home (he lived an hour and a half away) I spent all Monday evening redoing the tree, he never knew.
Fast forward to 2009. I am a Mom, married to my icicle loving, colored light demanding, amazing husband. As I put our branches on our tree (yes, fake all the way) and diligently placed the colored lights inside and outside of each level I reflected on how far I have come. My tree still has a few of my special angels, a couple of my garnet and gold balls and maybe a flower or two, but mostly it is covered in love. I have handmade ornaments that Abby has made through the years. There are pictures of the kids from Christmases past, 1st Christmas ornaments for my 3 kids, balls from trips we've taken as a family, Cocky ornaments, Mickey Mouse, Barbie and Disney Princess ornaments. I think it took less time to decorate it than it used to take me to just put the bows in place.
I have never loved a tree more. I sat back and watched Abby, Molly and Zach pull each ornament out of the box and "ooo" and "ahhh" over them as if they were made of gold. I treasure each handmade ornament as if it were Waterford Crystal. When I look at my Christmas Tree now, I see love. I see almost 9 years of marriage, 3 children and a lifetime of memories. I see a work of heart.
I see in our Christmas Tree what this time of year is really all about: Love.