Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Trees and Memories

The trees in downtown Sussex can put maybe
even the Grinch in the Christmas spirit.

It is that time of year when inspiration and hope is all around us.  All you have to do is look at the face of a child as he watches the Christmas parade, or watch an elderly woman singing carols as she searches for a perfect gift.  The life in young and old seems elevated during the Christmas season and it is contagious and only the coldest of hearts is immune to the warmth.  One of the longest standing traditions of this festive season is the Christmas tree and this is "one of my favorite things."
If you have a Christmas tree in your home it is likely because your parents had one and you have strong memories and rituals attached to your tree.  Whether you decorate a real tree or the more modern fake tree you likely have that old ornament that has to be hung just right by the specific family member.  Maybe you have to enjoy a box of chocolates or some hot chocolate while decorating the tree while Christmas music plays loudly in the background.  For some it might be a loud boisterous affair with laughter while others reflectively admire the tree before putting on each decoration.  For me and my family it is a rather loud affair, filled with laughter, the smell of chocolates and hot chocolate, mixed with balsam fir needles.  The music varies from Alabama's "Thistlehair the Christmas Bear" to Madonna singing "Santa Baby" but one thing is consistent and that is that it is played a bit louder than normal.

Seth loved being able to climb up on a
chair and decorate the tree this year.
There is often debate about real or fake trees and while I see the advantages of having a fake tree, I could never fully get into the Christmas spirit without the smell of   the fir needles.  Some argue that a real tree is too much work but for me that work is all part of the tradition that makes Christmas what it is.  Standing out in the cold picking out the perfect tree from the Scout lot isn't so much about helping the Scouts but more about keeping the tradition that has occurred for years and it allows me to hold onto a piece of my past.  No one truly loves to sweep up the fir needles, for weeks after Christmas, but even that task has a way of awakening memories of Christmas past.

Shaylee helped decorate the bottom half
of the tree.

The past is what Christmas is about.  A celebration of the birth of Christ and it is this reason I think that many of us maintain traditions and reach back to the past when Christmas times comes about.  I don't dwell there, but I reflect upon all those great memories, and look with hope to the New Year and a bright future.  With my children reaching that age where they will remember Christmas I truly see the future in them and I see the role Christmas will play in that for them.  I smile, take it in so I can remember it, and then I thank God for his son and for my family before I hang another ornament on the tree.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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