Each year when we decorate the house for Christmas, I can’t help but recall the trees of my past Christmases. While my current tree is lit by tiny white lights with red and gold beads strung carefully from branch to branch, our childhood tree was lit with large colored bulbs and covered with individual strands of silver tinsel.
Done properly, the tinsel was carefully applied strand-by-strand, but eventually, we just threw bunches on the branches. Did we save it for the next year? I am guessing it was not worth the trouble to do so, and it ended up still hanging on the tree when it was put out with the garbage.
When Dad and I got married, we abandoned the tinsel for the silver garlands, which was draped from branch to branch. Some people draped it vertically—tying them together at the top and letting them cascade to the bottom, but we weaved the garlands around and around from branch to branch.
One year, I think before any of you were born, I decided I wanted an old-fashioned tree, so we strung popcorn and cranberries together on long strands of thread and then wrapped them around the tree garland style.
I may have done it twice, because it turned out to be an easier task in the movies, but in real life, the popcorn would break apart as I stuck the threaded needle into each piece of popcorn. Because of the difficulty in creating this magical Christmas from days of yore, I remember attempting to save the strands for the following year. It never worked, so from then on, it was back to the garlands.
Eventually, we tired of that look and bought strands of red and gold beads which, to this day, still adorn our tree. Those beads, tiny white lights, and many, many ornaments tell the story of my past: the forty-one ornaments which I purchased every year since my college days (some a remembrance of a special vacation), several crafted by me in the ceramics classes in New York and New Jersey, many done by the three of you in school and at home, two done by Bryce, and one crafted by my sweet Aunt Lorraine.
Our tree always looks the same now, but I would not consider changing the look. I don’t want to erase those memories.