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.