It’s been possible for a long time now not only to buy artificial Christmas trees, but to buy them completely decorated with lights, ornaments, and garland. No trimming required!
Honestly, if I was the one responsible for putting the lights on our tree, I just might be tempted to buy one already fully decorated! But, thankfully, my wife has a talent for distributing lights on our tree’s branches efficiently and evenly.
One of the other reasons I’m unlikely to consider a pre-decorated tree for our home, aside from the fact that we already have a tree and plenty of ornaments, is that such trees are completely impersonal and uninteresting. Indeed, usually all of the ornaments are the same. Like, exactly the same! The horror!
Meanwhile, our Christmas tree is, shall we say, eclectic. There is absolutely no uniformity to our ornaments at all! Many of the decorations have been given as gifts over the years. They also reflect our various interests. For instance, I’ve got a favourite Spider-man one and a couple of cool Peanuts ornaments. Some don’t even seem, really, to be actual ornaments. Like my wife’s college keychain ornament or my Millennium Falcon ornament. Others have family names or pictures on them—of our kids, my wife, some from my Christmases as a kid. Lots of them hold memories and are sentimental.
And, yes, there are actual nativity ornaments too. Just in case you were worried we were hopeless pagans!
I guess I would say that our Christmas tree tells our story. Over the years while decorating the tree, it’s pretty common to start telling stories. To share memories of days and, specifically, Christmases past.
Even the tree itself, one that requires putting all the branches on individually, tells a story. Alisha and I got it when living in our first parsonage. This home had a very large living room so we got a tree that fit. Since then, we’ve had to adjust how many branches we’ve put on depending on the space available. We’ve erected a quarter of the tree, while mounting it in the corner of a room. We’ve even put up half a tree by mounting it on a wall! It actually worked well, believe it or not.
This year, we’ve put up almost the full tree, except for a few branches on the lower layers so it can be in front of our living room window without absorbing all the space.
Our Christmas tree has a history—our history. It’s branches are decorated with memory. I just think it’s that much more fun and interesting to look at than one of those pre-decorated ones or a tree with ornaments that lack all personality.
I suppose, too, that since I grew up with this sort of tree, decorated with a mix of generic and personal ornaments, I find it that much more sentimental even now.
What about your Christmas reminds you of years gone by, tells your story, displays your memories? What traditions do you have this time of year that frees you from the generic, homogenized, pre-packaged holiday junk? Whatever it is, enjoy it. Celebrate it. Let it take you back. Let it remind of who you are and where you’ve come from.