This year there is a bit of melancholy in the air and I am feeling a little bit older. It will be the first time in 27 years when the children will not be here for Christmas, while at the same time we are dealing with the illness of an elderly parent. The children have flown the nest and are making their own traditions, as it should be. I have always maintained that if we do our jobs right as parents, we have raised independent adults. So I rejoice in their independence, but still can’t help feeling a twinge of sadness at the thought of a much smaller Christmas gathering.
I know that in the future we will need to establish new traditions, but for now I try to shake off my lethargy and go through the motions of celebrating the holiday. We decide to continue the tradition of visiting the local tree farm to cut a tree. Normally, we visit the farm the weekend after Thanksgiving, hunt for the perfect tree, tag the tree and return the weekend before Christmas to cut our tree. This year, we set off for the short ride to the farm, greet the owner who has known us for almost 25 years and head towards the rows of trees to cut the tree that day, instead of waiting another weekend.
In the past, the youngest of my two children decided that if she could not have a 16 foot tree we would get the fattest tree she could find. And there have been some pretty wide trees! Many times, these trees took up about a quarter of the room; making it difficult to maneuver around the room while hiding windows and sometimes grandmothers trying to sit at the other end of the table.
Almost immediately, we find a cute little tree, a little more than 5 feet tall. Feeling that we are settling for the first tree we see, we wander the rows a bit longer, but nothing seems quite right. Nothing says, “this is THE tree”. So we return to our little tree and cut it down. As my husband carries the tree towards the front of the farm and the shed where we will pay for the tree, he comments that this year the tree is a lot easier to carry. But of course it is, he is not lugging a 6 foot tree that is 5 feet wide towards the shed!
We take our little tree home. One string of lights and a box and a half of ornaments later (almost all handmade over the years) our tree is ready for Christmas. This year, we can maneuver around the tree to plug in the lights, we can find the windows and we will not lose a grandmother behind the tree.
I wish everyone a happy, stress free holiday and a healthy New Year!