When I was growing up, a Christmas Tree was serious business. My mother was most adamantly against fake trees, thus we made our way as a family to a nearby commercial lot and picked a suitable tree for our living room. Achieving the desirable height was imperative, it needed to be free of any major holes, or at least have a very good "good" side. Dad sawed off the bottom, wrestled it into its stand and then we all looked on while he tried to get it straight. Once it was up and in place, his duties were complete.
It was then that mom took over. She was (and I believe still is) in charge of the lights. When I say serious business, I mean it. I'm not sure anyone was as meticulous as my mother when it came to getting lights on the tree. They were always white, much classier than those colored ones. She started at the top and made her way around, through and down the branches making sure the lights were evenly spaced and in their perfect places. I used to wonder if it took her hours to do this as we would arrive home from school and she'd just be finishing.
Once the lights were in place, we were allowed to assist with the ornaments. We never had a themed tree. We had a fantastic collection of ornaments, each possessing a wonderful memory that we relived each year as we hung them. They were unique and beautiful we loved pulling them out of the boxes finding our favorites. In true tree-decorating fashion, mom taught us that the smaller ornaments always hung near the top of the tree and the large ones near the bottom. Those of the same color never resided next to each other and we hid her least favorite ones around the side of the tree.
Our tree always looked fabulous. White lights made our whole living room glow. It was only natural that when I had a tree of my own that white lights and unique ornaments were the direction I steered. I have the inner urge now and then to go a more contemporary route and swallowed my jealousy when Katelyn got a very cool tree, but Denten is a traditional fellow and this time of year, tradition is not so bad. I must say that even with a few years of practice under my belt, my light job is nothing near my mothers. In fact, Denten volunteered to do it this year knowing that I wanted to do it but was stressing out about getting it just right. I was happy to hand off the job to him. However, attorney-work has been all-consuming lately and after a few days of a naked tree in our living room, Cooper demanded lights. He was a lovely assistant and I got the the job done.
And then rather than evenly spacing precious decoration around green branches, I sat down. I opened boxes and handed ornaments to my three little ones. They, and they alone, adorned our tree. The top half is very sparse, the bottom heavy laden with glass balls and ornaments. It made me fight against all that is natural in my soul to go rearrange them, putting the small ones at the top, highlighting my favorites front and center and making sure they were spaced well. I took deep breaths and did my best to relinquish my Christmas Control.
Seneca rearranges the display daily. Her favorites are my collection of handbags. Beckham explores the different textures of the ornaments and likes to see himself in the shiny ones. The large cluster of glass balls? That is Beckham's masterpiece. Cooper plays the part of the sheriff, making sure no one touches the tree... sometimes they listen to him and most of the time, not. He's old enough to remember favorites from last year and get excited to tell me where they came from.
The final product is all theirs. Except that they used my treasures to create it. I requested that Cooper put my New York ornaments up higher as one was shattered last year and nearly broke my heart.
It's not a traditional masterpiece, but it's Ours, created by Mine and the little white lights still make my living room glow.