In today’s column I tell the story of our Christmas tree—and the story our Christmas tree tells.
I don’t know what your tree looks like, but ours is a glorious mishmash of competing styles and tastes. It’s closer to Clark Griswold than Martha Stewart.
I strung together three sets of lights, each a different size. Candy canes are strewn about randomly, and they’re mostly left on the branches the kids can’t reach. The garland just kind of goes until it stops.
The star’s kind of crooked — I had to stand on a stepladder, on tiptoe, and hook it to the top branch with a pair of barbecue tongs. So there’s only so much I could do.
On its branches you’ll find minature replicas of Yukon Cornelius, Piglet, and San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan.
(My grandmother bought me an ornament every year until I was an adult; during my teen years she tapped into my love of basketball. Duncan’s my favourite player, and Scottie Pippen hangs on our tree as well, since he’s wearing a red Bulls uniform and my five-year-old loves all things Red. But I left Karl Malone in the box this year—I was never a fan of the Mailman. Sorry Grammy.)
We have ornaments covering five decades, dating back to my wife’s and my earliest Christmases in the late 70s. (Yes, I’ve been alive for parts of five decades… I snuck in during the second half of 1979.) We have a clay cast footprint of the General, our youngest son, when he was a few weeks old around Christmas 2009.
We have decorations my wife and I made in school, and crafts the kids have made in preschool or at home.
Every year I grumble to myself in stodgy Dad fashion about the work it takes to hoist a tree (and, with four kids, keep it upright), clean up as it sheds, and eventually take the whole thing down again. But in truth I love our Christmas tree. It’s a living history of three families—mine and my wife’s as we grew up, and now the crazy brood we’re raising together.
Like many people, I tend to get reflective around Christmas, and the tree helps remind me how lucky I am. All the great years that have come before, and hopefully many still to come.