So we decorated the tree tonight. This was our first year ever to have a real tree (after our duct taped fake tree collapsed on Emma a couple of times last year, we decided to try the real thing). While Emma was a bit scared at the tree farm and clung to my pants the whole time, she hasn't really seemed to notice that there is a tree in the house yet (granted we put her to bed before we actually started decorating it...).
We used colored lights this year. I have no clue where those lights even came from. I like the white lights, but behold we had half a dozen new boxes of colored lights in with the Christmas stuff. Mike pulled the "Emma would like the colored lights better" tricks and out voted me (plus he called me a tree light racist since I don't like colored lights). So we have colored lights...
With Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr., and Enya singing the sounds of the season in the background and fortified with spiced wine, we decorated the tree. Now some people have pretty trees - all decorative and coordinated. We have a memory tree. I have (almost) 29 years of ornaments (often multiple per year) as does Mike. So on the tree are "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments from 1977, 1978, and 2005. I have at least 4 Texas shaped ornaments (Merry Christmas Y'all), Hallmark series from the 80's and 90's, and ornaments we picked up from our honeymoon in Europe. Then there is my Cathedrals of the World set - I can only put up the ones I've actually visted (7 out of 12 isn't bad). And pop culture is fully represented as well. From our childhoods we have Snoopy, Strawberry Shortcake, the Muppets, and the Smurfs (that would be Mike's given that the Smurfs were banned as New Age in my family). Of course the whole Hallmark Star Wars and Lord of the Rings series are there as well as a few Harry Potter, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Veggie Tales ornaments. And Emma got an Elmo one this year. So it is a memory tree - a tree that is about us, our stories, our lives.
So for a cultural tradition, we go all the way. The tree, the ornaments, the music, the TV shows (the Sesame Street Gift of the Magi with Bert, Ernie, and Mr. Hooper was on today - I had the record
of that - fun memories) ... Are we a product of our culture, sure. Do I think it cheapen or takes the meaning out of Christmas? Not at all. I embrace Christmas with all its cultural, pagan, and religious roots. It just adds to the richness of the celebration. To celebrate the return of the light, to give gifts, to tell cultural folk tales, to get to decorate with my favorite colors, to listen to happy music, to see family, to remember the birth of Jesus - it is all meaningful in its own way.
So Merry Christmas all. Have fun decorating your trees.
Labels: Holidays, Personal, Reflections