So back when I was in Columbus, I was a big time into Christmas. I was that guy who was decorating directly after Thanksgiving as my mother did before me. I started playing Christmas music on All Saint's Day. There aren't really any good Halloween songs anyway, and no I don't believe Monster Mash counts, much less decent Thanksgiving songs. I don't think I've ever met anyone who knows more than "We gather together . . . ." So I blast the Carpenters starting in November. Our real enjoyment came when the Christmas tree was going up.
Partner and I had it down to a science by the fifth year. We found the best place to put it was in the dining room between the table and the pantry that led into the kitchen. There was a plug right there, so we were set. It was my responsibility to get the tree out of the guest closet and set all the branches in place. For some reason, Partner always put them at wonky angles, and it looked really artificial. That or he was just really good at making it look like he had no idea what he was doing. I always positioned all the branches. We would look at the tree for a bit undecorated and make sure all the lights were plugged in. Then we'd start decorating.
My partner's family though, were always star people. When we got our tree, we talked about it, and since neither of us were terribly religious, we decided to go with a star. Both are religious artifacts, but stars, less so. Of course, the star we ended up getting was rather big, and fairly gaudy. I loved it!
It was really sad to pack it away every year, and especially sad to pack away the last time. It's still in my parent's basement. We'll probably just end up giving the tree itself to goodwill if we ever move back to the US, but the decorations we'll finally take back for our own. I miss the Christmas that my partner and I had. I miss going for coffee and having pumpkin spice lattes. There aren't really any starbucks in this part of France, which is pretty unfortunate. I do miss what all went into the tree though.
This year's Christmas tree is far more loaded with memories for Partner than for me. These are the old decorations that he used to have when he was young. If you notice, there's an angel ornament just to the right of the red bow towards the top center. Apparently no one was allowed to put on that ornament except him. He said it's very odd to see them. I am really happy to have a Christmas tree though. I just feel wrong if I don't. It's hard to explain. It is reassuring though. I think even if I'm living in Thailand or Guam or someplace that feels completely foreign, I'll still have a Christmas tree. I think it's impossible to feel right without one.