Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 152

Wes and I spent two days this week getting our Christmas tree up, and the process stirred up lots of memories for both of us. For me, it started at the tree lot. We always had live trees when we were growing up, and as soon as I stepped out of the car and put my face into a Fraser Fir, I was instantly transported back to childhood. They say that smell, more than any other sense, triggers memory, and man, do I have some great memories of Christmas.

My mom really knew/knows how to do Christmas right. She'd make a pot of soup, or something equally appropriate, and put on her and Dad's old LPs of Bing Crosby, Gene Autrey and Nat King Cole. Dad's job was to get the tree in the stand (not so easy, as we found out this week) and then to set the mood with his pipe. He only smoked it twice a year: once as we decorated the tree and then again on Christmas Eve. I can recognize pipe smoke anywhere (again with the scent memories!).

When we moved to Tennessee, things really got out of hand. There was a lot more space to decorate, and we added an entire second tree. We spread the tasks among the three of us. BA helped mom with the trees, Allison did the snow village and the snowmen in the breakfast room and I usually put the garland on the stair rail, over the front door and on the mantle. I don't think our house ever looked better than it did at Christmas, and I really really wish we had thought to properly document it last year. I don't think any of us actually thought Mom would have sold the house and moved to Birmingham by now! But I digress.

Naturally, when it came to decorating our first tree, I emulated what I learned at home. I made chili. I turned the TV to the "sounds of the season" channel (man, I miss those LPs). And I insisted that we have a real, live tree. Which wouldn't have been such a big deal, if I had remembered that a hack saw is absolutely necessary when setting up a tree. One quick trip to K-mart, and we were in business. I took over Mom's job and strung the lights, all 470 of them. Then we realized that we didn't have ornament hooks. Whoops.

So most of the decorating was put off a night, and we finally got the tree wrapped up last night. If I do say so myself, it looks great! Wes' mom has been collecting ornaments for him since he was born and my mom has been buying them for me for my birthday (she gets them on sale after the holidays - smart!) since I was in high school. No first-year empty tree for us! I'm not one to subscribe to the thought that a Christmas tree has to be totally matchy-matchy (or that anything should be, for that matter), but boy do we have one eclectic tree. There are at least two plastic M&M people, soccer balls of all imaginable materials, a couple of wooden rocking horses, some pretty silver balls, my collection of blown-glass ornaments of all shapes and sizes and much, much more. Though I can't promise that the plastic M&Ms will make it onto the tree next year, for now, it's absolutely perfect. I can't imagine a better way to decorate our first tree, than to have it completely covered with what we both love.

(this tree is from Southern Accents, pictures of our tree coming soon!)

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