I don't have any pictures of the trees we had when I was a little girl, but there were certain things that were consistent in our Christmas tree every year. It was always real. It was always some sort of fir or pine tree. It smelled divine. It had to be watered every day or it would catch fire from the fireplace and we would all surely die. (It's important to add here that our tree was always in the living room, while the wood burning fireplace was in the den. Those two rooms barely shared a wall.)
Maybe having our tree in the living room was what made the whole thing so appealing. There was obviously a tremendous appeal, because my bedroom was on the opposite end of the house and getting up in the dark in the middle of the night and running down the dark hallway terrified me. All manner of witches, ghosts, goblins, monsters, trolls, Frankensteins and big mean dogs had to be waiting in my closet/under the bed/all along the hallway/between me and The Tree. And yet I did it.
All I remember from those early solitary tree viewings was that the lights seemed to glow against our front picture window, and the quiet. The beautiful, peaceful, magical quiet. Thinking about it now makes me a little teary-eyed, and more than a little grateful. Even back then I appreciated solitude and peaceful times, and quiet. I've lost that appreciation a few times over the years, but it has always come back to me. Wow.
Anyway, back to the tree. We always had multicolored lights (it was the 70's y'all. Don't judge.). My dad was just starting to make good money when we moved into that house, so there were always lots of presents under the tree. My mom always made sure my sister and I had the same number of presents to open (I knew because I counted), and Santa always came on Christmas Eve night. I had my Tree Night prior to December 24, so it was just me and the mystery and wonder of all those beautifully wrapped gifts.
I can't believe in the years I did this that I didn't fall asleep on the living room couch, but I couldn't have because NO ONE was allowed on the living room carpet without adult supervision and I know I would remember if I'd ever gotten busted.
Over the years I've collected ornaments, which makes my tree more special every year. I try to buy a new one each year. Here are a few for your perusal, and hopefully, enjoyment.
This one isn't even from a Christmas show, it's just something I got that I decided to make into an ornament so I could remember the sweet, funny, wonderful soul that gave it to me.
Is the bouncing around of the pictures bothering you too? Back to center with them. Carry on.
I somehow, without meaning to, began collecting Santa ornaments over the years. It appears I love Santas, in all shapes, forms, colors and sizes. I'm an Equal Opportunity St. Nick ornament lovah.
I admit I've tossed a few ornaments (and by tossed, I mean donated) that were specific to years that I just didn't particularly want to remember. But ol' 1994, I kept. I had to think about it for a bit, but I'm really glad I didn't pass it on. 1994 was the year I had thyroid cancer. My second cancer in two years. But there I was, in December of 1994, getting a beautiful ornament from my sis to commemorate the year. I was ALIVE in December of 1994, and that made (and makes) me the luckiest girl in the world. I have been cancer free every second since.
Some ornaments just speak for themselves, don't they?
This came from a library in Central Alabama, someone there had made several and they were selling them to raise funds. OKRA! Who knew? People are so very clever.
GO VOLS!!!!! ROCKY TOP!!!!!! This is as rabid a fan as I get, unless there is a football game actually taking place.
This is my 2013 ornament. I got it at our local Santa's Village gift shop. It was a special night and I wanted to commemorate it. I'm really quite mushy. The hard, cold, tough as nails exterior I present to the world? Oh so thin. Let's just keep that between us.
Although I've done these in no particular order, these last two are the coup de gras, as Ralphie would say. These belonged to my Granny and Papa Land. The two of them as a couple embodied everything that is loving and peaceful and accepting and unconditional in this world. They were our living, breathing, 24/7/365 Christmas reminders.
So, now for the unveiling.
Gena Tree 2012!!!!!!!!!
I haven't had Tree Night yet, but I know I will. I hope everyone who reads this is able to take a few minutes and enjoy peace and solitude, to feel loved, and to be able to love in return.
Happiest of holidays to you all!