Random Acts of "Kindness"

THE CHRISTMAS TREE

I wrote this last year at Christmas Time, before the BLOG. I thought I would share it with you this year.

Every year, it seems that the decorations for Christmas arrive in the stores earlier. It used to be that we celebrated Thanksgiving before the stores decorated for Christmas. Then Christmas decorations vied with Halloween costumes for space in the store. This year, the battle began before the children went back to school.

I’m old fashioned. I will admit it! I don’t put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving although I will admit that I might begin making presents earlier.

One of my favorite decorations is our Christmas tree. When we moved into our house, our son was barely crawling and my husband did not want him eating pine needles so we bought an artificial tree for $25. Year after year we put the tree up, decorated it with ornaments, tinsel and garlands. The tree appeared real as the branches sagged and spaces opened up. Our son referred to it as the Charley Brown tree.

The year finally came when instead of putting it in the basement, it joined other trees in the alley and we purchased a new tree. I thought we would buy a smaller tree since our children were married. I wondered where we would put all the ornaments that I had accumulated over the years. I didn’t need to worry. Our new tree was taller and fuller. There would be room for ALL of our ornaments.

This year as I decorated the tree I remembered the year my father, aunt and uncle helped my husband and I make ornaments from sequins. The sequins have lost their shine but the ornaments are precious since my father, aunt and uncle are no longer with us. Since they aren’t breakable, they take their spot on the lower branches of the tree. Of course the six small angels are the first to take their place on the high branches. (I wrote the story of the battle of the angels in JOURNEY WITH ME, titled WINGS. I had always credited my father with the extra “help” that I was receiving. forgetting that my mother and brother preceded him by many years. LESSON LEARNED)

I usually have the job of adding the ornaments. My husband puts on the lights and the angel sitting on the top. The large silver ornaments go around the tree trunk to help reflect the light. They were a present from a woman long ago. Then I add all the small older ornaments that rest over the summer, wrapped in tissue paper in their own box. Some of them are very old and heavy.

I won’t bore you with a description of all the ornaments. The angels increased again this year. I had to get a chocolate lab angel for Mabel to accompany our other four footed angels. More of our friends moved to the other side. Sue gave me an angel bell to remember the angels that got their wings. Besides the angels from my story of WINGS, I have Irish, and Hawaiian angels — crystal, copper and plastic. I was delighted with all the angels that I found.

Many of the ornaments remind me of trips we have taken – South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Hawaii to name a few. Others remind me of milestones in our life. When Rusty, our Irish Setter joined the family; I decorated the tree with red apples, Silver EGGs, and clear bells made from wine tasting cups. The breakable ornaments took the year off.  I haven’t put the red apples on the tree but I haven’t tossed them out yet either. The eggs and the bells always find a spot.

Our son made an ornament when he was in Kindergarten from a gold tube. It is always is in view. A stable scene dates from girlscouts. I received an ornament when I was a milk mother; I don’t remember how many years ago that was.  One year, Terri, our daughter in Florida asked if we got the two penguin ornaments that her kids had made. Nope, didn’t see them. The next year I used the same box to send our presents to Florida, and I found two penguins.

Gifts from friends have a place on the tree. When TO PAP, WITH LOVE was published, a friend gave me a rising star. Speaking of TO PAP, I found two bears with the date 2002, celebrating the year that book was published. They are not the only bears hiding in the branches. I also found a couple of ornaments celebrating JOURNEY, from 2007. I realized another five years have passed.

My Aunt Connie knew how much I enjoyed the ornaments on our tree. She gave me a box of her ornaments the year before she died. Clowns, M& M’s and other storybook characters joined the group.

Of course, there has to be Santa – opening the refrigerator, sitting in a chair, riding a train, fishing, etc. There are also a lot of horses. Isa, our youngest granddaughter was very happy when she saw them – they were right in her line of vision. Imagine that. Daniel, our younger grandson, didn’t notice the super heroes; he is into Transformers now.

The tree is too crowded now for some of our older ornaments. The popcorn cranberry garlands stay in the box with the apples.  But there is still room for MORE!

New note: Walking to the post office, I remembered that we had another dog angel, so I ordered Tidbits angel ornament. Weeks went by. On Sunday, 12/2/12  I continued to trim the tree, adding our dog and cat angel’s. The doorbell rang, Tidbit’s angel arrived to join the others.

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