Christmas Tree: Why Bother?
“Why spend so much time on a tree? That’s not what Christmas is all about!” My friend Sonia asked. Well, she did not really say those words. Sonia is always very nice, very tactful.
But that’s how it hit me when she and I were talking about Christmas and the whole commercial hullabaloo of it.
Why, indeed. Every year, I take great effort in trimming our family Christmas tree—with a motif different from all the others before it.
I brainstorm with myself and after I have agreed with me, I implement with passion. In all this, it’s just me, I, myself, and moi.
My family, made up of a husband and three sons, don’t really have a part in this mania. Deep inside me, I think they care little (or nil) if the tree is put up at all. But once long ago they did.
When our sons were little, Tony and I would put wrapped gifts under our tree weeks before Christmas. Every chance they got, the three boys would touch those gifts and try to peek into the wrappers with much excitement. And those faces which glowed when those gifts were opened were every parent’s delight.
They’ve outgrown opening gifts (but not in giving them, because for as long as I am their mother I’d insist) and Christmas trees. They know, as I do, that trimmings do not a Christmas make.
The Bible describes that first Christmas in Luke 2:12, “. . . you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." The birth of our Savior was a time for great celebration, but not in the manner that we celebrate it today: with grandeur, pomp and circumstance—and Christmas trees.
Why, then, do I bother putting up a tree at all?
Humor me and listen to my psychoanalysis of, or theories, on this mad behavior. It could be any, or all, of the following:
I wish to freeze in my mind those happy little boys’ faces around the tree?
As far back as I could remember, my mother would put up a Christmas tree—with exactly the same trimmings year after year. In the last Christmases, before the tree finally disintegrated from age, the faux snow (cotton) had turned beige and brown. Maybe I was wishing she’d change them because I liked my snow white?
My nature to be easily bored (I multi-task in the middle of something—like reading five different books in the same span of time; or writing five other different pieces before I could finish the first one) manifests itself also at Christmastime?
This year, we have our first grandson who is so far away we can’t dote on him. So I decided to trim the tree with teddy bears. Is it a sign of things to come—that like all other grandparents we will spoil our Adrian when his parents aren’t looking?
After 12 months of being held apart by different schedules, busyness, and business, the family is always together around the Christmas Tree on Christmas eve. Does my tree symbolize family—and togetherness?
Whatever. I had a ball trimming my tree again this year. Behold the teddy bears! My househelps of many years, Ate Vi and Jen, shared my joyful task and they giggled no end when Tony, sons JC and JR said, “Wow, nice!”
It didn’t matter that the boys said it hours after they had come home and only after I asked them, “What do you think of my Christmas tree this year?”