Since my husband is deployed, I wasn’t planning on putting a up a Christmas tree this year. It’s a lot of work for one person to go buy and set up a real tree, and buying a big fake one seemed like a waste because we usually get a real one. Also I wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit enough to propel me up into the attic to forage for decorations and lights.
At first my son seemed OK with my explanation that we’d be spending Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s and they put up THREE trees so we’ll have plenty!
But then one day, he asked me again about why we didn’t have a tree and when I told him about all the great trees at his grandparents house, he looked very concerned and asked me, “But Mommy, how will Santa find OUR house?”
I looked at my sparse Christmas decor consisting of one lonely Star Wars stocking on the mantle and realized my little Grinch heart needed to grow a little. I needed to forget that I was not feeling it because my husband was thousands of miles away in Iraq, and I was stressed doing it all on my own. I needed to remember I was the one in charge of making one little guy’s Christmas as magical and it can be, and that should start with our own home and traditions.
And then a Christmas miracle happened.
My husband mentioned he thought we might still have our very first Christmas tree. It was a short little fake one we bought when we lived in a studio apartment in San Francisco. We were fresh out of college and totally broke, so we got a cheap fake tree and decorated it with things we found around the city. We even still have our original “ornaments,” which range from a Guinness bottle opener to a lost doll shoe, and always hang them on our real tree every year.
I found our old tree safely tucked away in a box in the garage. We pulled it out in two pieces, snapped those together and set about fluffing out the branches. It looked as good as it did when we got it 20 years ago. Which is honestly cheap and spindly, but I wasn’t expecting much. And more importantly, to my son it was PERFECT.
We went up in the attic and found the box with the tree skirt and a few boxes of ornaments, which would be plenty on our little Christmas tree. It was just his height so he could help put on the lights and insisted on hanging all the ornaments and showing me each one. He was so excited to see the tree all lit up and decorated, he stood back to take it all in and with the biggest smile and asked me:
“Isn’t our tree amazing? Santa will definitely find us now.”
You know kid, I think you’re right. And you helped out a certain “Santa” more than you know.