Oh, [Pathetic] Christmas Tree …

Every year, when we first get our Christmas tree out of the box, it’s quite the pathetic mess.


Spindly branches, broken pieces, entire gaps missing from the trunk. …

We did a real tree for years and years, but when the kids got older, and life got busier, we resorted to a fake one, which quickly left a lot to be desired. Plus it wasn’t just ANY fake one — it was a really skinny, scrawny fake one. I don’t even remember where we found it. I think it was just something we could afford at the time, and it fit in the tiny space we have, so we went for it.

Over the years, I’ve repeated my usual mantra: this is the year we’ll get a new tree (or at least a real one with some umph to it).

But every single year I feel bad for spending money on a new tree. And every single year I have my annual stare-down with this old one in the garage. And maybe it’s spite, or stubbornness, or maybe I just see it as a challenge, but I ask Superman to drag the scrawny, skinny one down from the rafters. And I walk around it, and frown at its pathetic Charlie Brown branches, but then I get to work. …

And after some lights, and some wine, and some ribbons, and some magic pixie dust, and some swearing at the lights, and another glass of wine, and some more ornaments, our pathetic Charlie Brown tree gets suddenly transformed into this:


Nathan hangs the ornaments on the bottom. Rene handles the middle. I hang all the lovely Lennox ornaments (that my mom gives me every year — such a joy) at the top. We fill it with all our ornaments of every vacation we’ve ever taken, every child’s first Christmas, every major anniversary Superman and I have had, all our “first Christmas” ornaments (we have a lot of those because we were married at the start of the Christmas season), all the kids’ homemade ones, all the kids’ hobbies and interests, all the ones from friends, and suddenly … the tree is transformed.

Just like life.

You add all the details — the memories, the friends, the kids, your interests, the vacations, your parents, your hobbies, your inside jokes — and you can turn a rather plain life (or a plain set of branches) into one of beauty and magic and love.

Needless to say, every year I end up loving that pathetic Charlie Brown tree.

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6 thoughts on “Oh, [Pathetic] Christmas Tree …

  1. I love that tree and I just don’t want another one. I think I would feel cheapened in a way if we went forso ethinh bigger and splashier. To me this tree is our “Christmas Lovey.” it has such wonderful memories in it’s barren little branchez and I absolutely LOVE how you bring out its true beauty every year.

  2. Your tree is beautiful, Laurie!

    Y’know, I have a bone to pick with those 10-foot Christmas trees with lavish matching red and gold glittery ornaments. Sure, they may be pleasing to the eye (when you’re in a department store standing between that and a headless mannequin!) but they pale in comparison to these real trees, where each ornament has a story of its own.

    Every year my mom breaks out her matching ornaments but when she finishes, I sneak back and add all the random, broken, misshapen trinkets from my and my siblings’ childhoods. A gingerbread-looking thing my sister made (complete with my bite marks), a U-shaped candy cane I made out of plastic beads, and an old-school Power Ranger, to name a few. 🙂

  3. Hey, Superman — Yes, I think that tree has already earned “legend” status in our family now, and will always remain in some fashion! I never thought of it as a “lovey” like I wrote about the other day, but … hmmm … yes, there are some similarities!

    Amanda — Thank you! Yes, I love where each ornament has a story of its own also. Our first year, we actually put the bows from our wedding gifts on the tree, because even the bows had “stories” to me, each being from someone special who came to our wedding (and, you know, we didn’t have many ornaments then!). I love that you sneak our fave ornaments on your mom’s tree. (I hope she’ll give you some of those to start your own story-telling tree!) That old-school Power Ranger is a must-have!

  4. I broke down and bought a new tree with the lights already on it a few years ago. I waited until after Christmas and bought one on sale so I wouldn’t feel bad for spending the money! I am like you with the ornaments – we have some that are from my childhood, all the “firsts” and every year I buy each child a new one. I write their name and put the year on it so they will remember when it is from, and some day when they move out and have their own Christmas trees they will have plenty of ornaments! I also started buying myself a new one a few years ago so my tree wouldn’t seem bare when they take theirs away! We love pulling them out and walking down memory lane each year. Out tree isn’t huge or decorated with each ornament stratigically placed, but it is ours, full of great memories – and that is what matters!

  5. Hi, Debi! Yes, I love walking down memory lane with all the ornaments, too. And funny, I was just thinking about what I was going to do when I give some of the ornaments away also. (I was thinking I wished I bought two of a few of them.) 😉 I wish I could see your tree! Maybe put a pic up on Facebook and do an “@” and my name in the status bar so it will go to me?

  6. I will try to get a picture on there…my camera broke so I will have to see how a mobile picture will work out. I know it sounds easy to just “put an @ and your name…” but we will see how I do, LOL!

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