Daily Archives: December 6, 2013
Christmas seems to be coming in a rush. It doesn’t help that Mother Nature is acting like a menopausal wreck with thunderstorms and 70 degree weather making it feel like April in Atlanta instead of December. Not to mention that I had a book releasing this week and cover copy and edits due on two other books, pushing the whole Christmas shopping, holiday decorating, cookie baking scenario right out the window.
I finally grabbed a couple of hours this morning to decorate the tree—because, really, no one else in the house was going to do it. Normally, it’s one of my favorite holiday jobs, but this year I wasn’t into it. It’s that whole artificial tree thing again. Last year at this time, I blogged about our family’s transition from a real live, sweet smelling tree to a plastic, unscented model. (You can check out that blog here.) For the sake of my men folk, we’ve decided to keep the allergy aggravating stuff outside the house from now on—including during the holiday season. As much as I hate an artificial tree, I hate the nebulizer and coughing and wheezing more.
All it took was a look inside the ornament boxes to change my negative mindset, though. As I unwrapped and hung the ornaments on the branches—branches that didn’t prick me or bend under the weight of my precious ornaments—I realized that it doesn’t matter whether my tree is real or not. It’s the actual the ornaments that tell the story of my family’s journey through Christmas’ these past twenty-two years. Like my family, our tree decorations aren’t fussy or pretentious; they aren’t fashionable or organized. They’re just pieces of the story of who we are and where we’ve been.
Take, for example, the porcelain ornament depicting the North Gate in Seoul Korea. I picked it up when I worked for NBC sports during the 1988 Summer Olympics. My husband has had to glue it together at least twice when it tumbled off a tree branch onto the hardwood floor. (Score one for the artificial tree.) It looks a little gnarly after all these years, but I couldn’t imagine it not being a part of my Christmas tree.
The handmade ornaments that have survived since my kids were in preschool get hung first, up near the top. Some are made out of actual gingerbread and others out of Popsicle sticks and googly eyes. Still others are Sunday school creations made of origami. One was made by my niece out of a piece of ribbon and some beads.
Interspersed among the Solheim originals are the fancy Lennox and Wallace ornaments. Ornaments from the White House are mixed in with balls filled with sand from beaches we’ve visited. There are horses and dogs, marionette Santas all the way from Germany, gingerbread men and reindeer. There’s even a set depicting historic Glyndon, Maryland where my husband grew up. The candy canes are wooden ones that my Grandmother used to hang on her tree.
After nearly three hours of hanging ornaments, I wasn’t so glum about our regal artificial tree. Every year from here on out, it will be the vessel for displaying all the memories that our family has stored up through the years. And just like a corny TV holiday show, I’d found my Christmas spirit exactly where I’d left it—in the boxes filled with ornaments.
Happy holidays to all of you!
Do you have a favorite holiday decoration? Tradition? Care to share?