Monday, December 8, 2008

Ode to the tree

I have always loved things that hang. There's something about suspension--is it the shadows? the sway?--that makes everything seem more magical.

So it should not surprise me that I love a Christmas tree. But I forget. We often go home (home...such a funny word for a place you left over 10 years ago) for the holidays and when we do, we don't bother with buying and trimming a tree.

But this year we put in an early reservation for a Seattle Chirstmas. Just the two of us. A stress-free, make-your-own-new-tradition holiday for our tiny family of two (plus two--very hairy dogs).

We rented a tree from IKEA on Saturday [one of my favorite marketing schemes ever--you go pick up a tree on a certain weekend in December (for $19.95) and then return it to IKEA on a certain weekend in January and receive a gift certificate for $10. All said and done and everyone wins: you get a tree for $10, you get an excuse to shop at IKEA, you know where to take your tree at the end of the holiday season, and IKEA turns the tree into wood mulch].

Since we went home last year, it has been two years since I'd laid eyes (and hands) on our collection of ornaments. And I had forgotten the pure joy that can be felt at unwrapping each ornament, one by one, that the mister and I have collected over the years together (and even before we were together)...each with its own story connected to it--a year, a giver, the curcumstances surrounding the time...

There are the handmade ornaments--the star embroidered by my grandmother, the solder and hand-beaded wire bent into a heart by a dear family friend, the tiny stuffed loon my third grade teacher (Ms. A) sewed by hand. And the collection of dogs and moons we painted two separate years with the Meissners and their jig saw and plenty of mulled wine.

The silver cupid we received the year we announced our engagement.

The sugar plum fairy my great grandmother bought me when I first saw the nutcracker, at something like age six.

The yearly Rothko ornaments (they're Polish, you know!): The champagne bottle for 2000. The peace dove with her red ribbon swirling around a glittered earth--the thickest part folded atop of New York--from 2001.

Even the silly orange balls--which we bought that first year in Anchorage at Fred Meyer because we didn't have enough ornaments to fill a tree.

So many tiny memories on tiny strings and hooks.

The tree seems like a lot of work when I think about it in October...the driving, the choosing, the tying it onto the car roof, the needles all over the floor, the watering, the having to reverse the whole process after the shine has been completely rubbed off the holiday...but let this be a reminder to me that once that tree is in my house--unleashing its evergreen musk--I love the tree. And its ornaments. And their stories.


Faith Wanderer said...

I still have my nutcracker ornament from Great Grandma too. It is fun to see all the memories represented by these small object we collect over the years.

Christy said...

Oh I love a tree too!!! How cool about the Ikea thing- I want to do that next year, never knew about that...

Enjoy your Christmas at home, your fo' realz home, they are the BEST!