While I was taking a break for a moment Sunday afternoon, I decided to sit where I could see the Christmas tree. It’s been just a day since hubby and daughter went to find one. A fresh tree always. It’s in a different spot than last year, but then, this is only our second year here. In addition, we still have several options for placing trees in various rooms as we continue to be living a minimalist life as regards furniture. Last year, it was in the “dining” room, which was utterly empty and just screamed for the tree. This year, since the “dining” room has become the music room/green house, we chose an empty corner in the living room. So, as you must with a live tree, there’s the “let-down” phase where you literally let the tree sit and let down its branches. Since we live in Michigan and so many of the trees are grown here, it’s a lovely Frasier fir cut within the past week. (We’ve actually bought trees in Illinois that were cut months prior and spray painted to look green!) Then, and only then, approximately 24 hours later, you may proceed to add lights. Lights first. The multicolored gum drop kind. Plugged in so you can see where they should go. Then the garland. I try to get that “The Bishop’s Wife” look that Cary Grant pulls off in his role as the angel Dudley.
The ornamenting goes through several stages. Our style is not themed. The hodge-podge collection ranges from hand-blown glass baubles to 25-year-old paper whatnots the kids made in school. Stage one: the nine-year-old goes through everything looking for her favorites, which get hung first. This is a very slow part of the process as much thought as well as play goes into rediscovering these treasures packed away since last year. Stage two: I come along and hang my favorites. Stage three: hubby comes along and throws on the candy canes so he can say he helped. (To be fair, he did go out and get the tree, as well as help with the out-door decorations.) Stage four: detail the whole thing with small glass ornaments that don’t weigh down the very tips of the branches. It’s the fill-in step. This entire procedure can take up to 4 days.
As I sat, looking at the tree, I noticed there are quite a few angels. There are the obvious angels.
There are the not so obvious angels. Like the little hand traced on an old Christmas card and cut out, hung with a piece of yarn; that angel is the memory of a sweet boy when he was five. There are the angels that dance in my thoughts as I watch my youngest decorating and for a moment, she is her sister at that age. There are angels that have replaced ones that were lost or broken. There are angels that are missing and cannot ever be replaced. There are angels that might be. There are even angels that are broken but still arrive on a branch to share in the celebration. Somehow, every year, it is completely new and fresh and, at the same time, an enduring repetition.