Monday, December 7, 2009

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

“White Christmas,” according to a story in USA Today, is the most popular song ever. Written in 1942 by Irving Berlin, it evokes a nostalgia for times past that transcends religious affiliations. When I listen to it, I feel a bit melancholy, remembering Christmases of my childhood, when I’d sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to see what Santa had left for me and my siblings. Once I even unwrapped a gift to make sure “Santa” had brought me what I’d asked for. Of course, then I had to carefully rewrap it and place it back under the tree so no one would suspect. The problem was that it took all the fun out of Christmas morning. I never did it again.

I can still picture our little tree, wedged into a corner of our tiny living room, decorated with the large, old-fashioned colored light bulbs, shiny ornaments, and tinsel. It was always a fresh tree, not artificial, and no matter how unshapely it was, I thought it was beautiful. I’d often go downstairs to the living room after everyone was in bed so I could plug in the lights, sit in the dark, and dream. And oh, that wonderful pine fragrance. There’s nothing better. Well, except for the smell of chocolate.

This year, I had to watch as my kids and husband put up the tree since I’m still immobilized after foot surgery. And I had to make sure my favorite ornaments were in places where I could see them. I’ve been collecting ornaments since my first child was born, so each one is special, but the most precious ones were made by my kids in school and have their pictures on them. My tree isn’t a decorator’s dream by any means. It’s a hodgepodge of memories. A family creation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you have special family traditions? Decorations? Or a special holiday song that brings back good memories?

Have a great week,
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