We play Christmas carols, and put the Velcro and felt antlers on the cat. Every year I give a special ornament to my kiddo, and I never move the ornaments he places on the tree.
When I grew up the closest thing to spirituality and grace fostered during the Christmas season was that the name of Jesus was frequently spoken. Often emphatically. Usually it was at the beginning of a sentence.
For instance, when trimming the tree, my mother could be heard screaming, “Jesus Christ! Are you f-ing blind? Can’t you see that looks awful!” …not a creature stirred, not even her spouse…
Since I’ve had my own home and my own tree, the hall-decking and tree-trimming has taken on a new flavour.
Being a single parent, it was always really easy to feel less-than. For years we had a theme tree; baseball, candy, under-the-sea. I bought ornaments and decorations, and went overboard. I Christmased with the best of them.
I’m so over that.
I’ve officially entered the if-it’s-not-useful-or-really-damn-sentimental-I-don’t-want-it-weighing-me-down phase of life. I also have a strong preference for silliness, laughter and feeling at ease.
Decking the halls and trimming the tree is meaningful because of who you share it with; whether they’re the ones trimming the tree with you, or the ones you’re remembering as you hang ornaments they gave to you.
Trimming the tree was never meaningful when I hung over-priced au currant ornaments void of meaning.
This year I truly did some trimming. I decluttered a bunch of ornaments I just don’t, and won’t use any more. We are down two Christmas boxes, and it feels good.
This year our tree was trimmed simply, with a few shiny red Christmas balls (because I like shiny things, and red makes me feel festive) and the ornaments we’ve been gifted throughout the years; handmade snowmen and kitties from my mumster, a colleague’s signature, hand-painted snowflake, great-granny’s quilted hearts, the Beatrix Potter ornament I bought when the kiddo was three and I thought that perhaps he was really the offspring of satan, loads of personalized ornaments from our now-in-Newfoundland-neighbours, the candy-cane carrying Mr. Potato Head my kiddo gave me years ago, the star that was stolen for me from a tree in Venezuela on New Year’s Eve, the rubber gingerbread man the kiddo squirted with sparkly glue when he was 4, and the Eiffel Tower ornament I bought for myself in Paris….
Life has been a struggle this year, and hanging ornaments reminiscent of more light-hearted, silly times was bittersweet.
As the season of Advent approaches, I know that I will sit quietly in the stillness of the midnight hour, wondering by the light of this Christmas tree what mystery might unfold in my life this Christmas season.