We took down the Christmas tree today. My husband said “It’s time.”  And I knew he was right. So down it went, still smelling so fresh, just starting to lose its needles. It’s always a bittersweet time for me. I miss the glow and scent of the tree immediately, yet I’m happy to have the space back. It’s funny because I don’t miss that space at all while the tree is up.

Christmas trees have always been a big deal in my family. My dad was the youngest of seven children and while a young man he was entrusted with choosing my grandparents’ tree. This carried over till I, as a preschooler, went along with him -treehunting. I enjoyed stopping at all the lots- we’re city people never went to a tree farm!

 I learned to anticipate the haggling, the walking away, and finally making the deal.  And then there was the moment when my dad would bring the chosen tree to Grandma’s and she would laugh and call him “you crazy kid”. This was because Dad always chose giant trees -much trimming needed and pruning required.  Dad was always more conservative when we went out to get the other tree for our little apartment. But Grandma had a bigger space and the tree needed to fill it.

So when I had my own family, I kind of trained my husband on how to play the Christmas tree game. He learned quickly for one who had never had a dad–or a real tree in his life. My sons have gotten pretty good at it too, seemingly by osmosis. And they like them big , too. So funny that the Christmas tree “process” has become a tradition.

I have tons of ornaments now. My dream is someday to have (or rent) a place for Christmas where I can use all the ornaments I have on a very, very tall tree. I’d like to have that satisfaction just once.

Yes, this tree tradition is a converted pagan custom. But since I was little, I have known that the tree was a symbol of Christ and everlasting life. I have always held it in reverence for that reason. And the tree is adorned in its natural beauty and we try our best to enhance it. And we savor its special, fragrant presence in our homes  as long as we can. We make space in our homes ….and in our hearts.