Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Two Christmas Trees

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 family had always had an angel on the tree.  Not just any angel either.  There was a specific angel that always worked, much to my mother's chagrin.  She would buy these little French Country Styled Angels and every year they'd blow out or they wouldn't work when we plugged them in.  So instead, we'd go back to this plastic angel that my parents had since they were married.  It's worked since 1973, and is the only one that worked with every set of lights we had on the tree, ever.

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!

Now, we didn't have any decorations of our own, so we had to buy all our stuff.  We found a lot of stuff we liked, and absolutely loved the tree skirt.  It was all shiny.  I was always afraid of getting it caught in the sweeper.  I tend to be good like that.  But it was perfect because it was ours, and we made it ourselves.  It was wonderful.

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.


  1. Love your trees. Hopefully I will get mine up this week.

  2. Nubian - thanks! Really though, only the bottom one is up at our house here. The other was our old one from back in Columbus. I miss that tree!

  3. I just love that the tree has all your partner's old childhood ornaments on it...I think I'd just burst into tears if I ever saw the ornaments we used to have as a kid. I'm just that sappy. :)

  4. Jason - I know what you mean. I think my mother got rid of the ornaments we used to have on the tree as a kid. They were a lot of wooden ornaments, toy soldiers and the like. I saved a few that I could, but I don't really know what happened to them.

    For Partner it's a little strange. He's just happy he has his little pink angel! :-)

  5. We haven't had a tree in more than 5 years now. I don't really miss it. We've been downsizing the whole Christmas event and now I simply put a garland around the entrance to the living room and the dining room. They already have lights on them and I put the ornaments we used to hang on the tree. Add a few knick-knacks here and there, et voilà!

    We try to create more a feeling of warmth and intimacy rather then the big fantasy Christmas showcase Hollywood and shopping malls are trying to sell us.

    I'm not saying we'll never have a tree anymore but right now, we just want to keep it as simple as possible for us.

    And yes, I do have the Christmas spirit!

  6. Blue - I think it's great to have the Christmas spirit. I think your decoration sounds wonderful. The simpler things are, usually the better!