When I was a little girl, Christmas tree day was very exciting. Dad would bring home a live tree, bought from a service station or a fruit shop and there were six of us kids waiting. He always talked about how he chose the tree, how it was the best one, with the straightest branches reaching upwards and it was just the right height so it reached the ceiling once it was put in the bucket with bricks to stabilize it. We had to water it regularly to keep it green. It made our whole house smell like Christmas. From the day it came into the house, we could smell Christmas every moment. It makes me smile to remember it. When I’m at the shops in December, if I see live trees for sale, I can’t resist smelling them. It puts a smile on my face and brings back all the memories.
When I got married, my husband and I bought a nice big plastic tree and ornaments to decorate it. Each year I bought a few things to add to the tree and to decorate our home. My boxes marked Christmas grew every year. When my sons were born and grew old enough to do Christmas crafts, we added those to the tree and to the house. The boys went to preschool and then school and brought home even more treasures to decorate our lives in December. As they moved up to high school, they no longer did Christmas crafts, and so I’d take them shopping to choose pretty baubles and new tinsel. My Christmas boxes took up a whole cupboard.
As my sons grew up, and I divorced, I moved into smaller homes with less room for big Christmas decorations. I am the kind of person who likes to downsize Christmas once I no longer have babies in the house, anyway. Our big old Christmas tree was no longer what I wanted, so I went shopping for a smaller tree. The first one I bought was about three feet tall, and it was able to wear some of my decorations. I bought a smaller string of lights and some tinsel to fit. That tree lasted a few years and more recently I bought a very small tree, about two feet, sixty centimeters tall. It has inbuilt flashing lights and all I add are a few pretty blue baubles. It’s sweet, it fits on a table in the corner of my lounge room, and there is plenty of room for gifts around it.
One day, if I’m lucky, there will be babies and small children around my tree again. I wonder if I’ll go shopping for a bigger tree? Maybe I’ll buy a cut tree, so that the fresh scent of Christmas pine will fill the senses of my children and their children, becoming a part of their Christmas memories, just as it is a part of mine.
Write your life, know yourself. Rachel