Monday, December 9, 2013

The Tree [#12daysofblogging]

This post is part of the #12daysofblogging Christmas series being hosted by myself and Erin from Hooley with a Z. There's an opportunity to link-up at the bottom of every post and, of course, we'd love for you to join. For more information on #12daysofblogging check out this post.
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We married in September and celebrated our first Christmas just three months later. With the Christmas season came the realizations that we came from two different families rich with traditions and our new marriage required us to keep some, skip others, all the while making our own. We believe that we've started to get the hang of things three years later. Add a kid one day and we'll be all messy again.

For now, the Christmas season looks like the twelve traditions we'll share over the next three weeks. We hope you'll share yours back in the comments or through email.
One of our first fights as man and wife was real or fake. Not boobs or leather or watches, but Christmas trees. Jason was raised with a fake that he says reckoned more Charlie Brown Christmas than Clark Griswold's twelve-footer. I grew up with real until that first beautiful, fake, pre-strung tree arrived eight years ago. 
I said fake. Jason said real. Compromise happened. And three years later we've still got a Noble Fir wafting fresh pine scent through every square inch of our home. I haven't regretted a minute of it. 

The tree tradition wouldn't be so without timing. As in, Thanksgiving happens Thursday and by bedtime Saturday the tree is up, lit, sparkly with little globes and the halls are decked with joy. No rest until it's festive. And that it is. 

With the tree come a few smaller, more meaningful traditions: 

-We make or acquire one handmade ornament a year. Those one's happen to be our very favorite. Like this paper plate with sequins thanks to Popsicle. He made this just days before he moved away. 

-We don't believe in a fancy tree skirt. So we use a strip of burlap from our wedding. Resourceful aren't we? 

-We buy one ornament each year to commemorate something we find meaningful or hilarious or interesting about our marriage. This year: a wine glass for our wine-loving skills and wine club membership. Last year: a tennis ball to celebrate the sweet puppy dog we acquired in February. 
We are efficient tree pickers. Hit the asphalt of the Home Depot tree lot and are pulling out within ten minutes. We've got our tastes and they're simple - pine tree that emits that piney, Christmas smell and looks like it'll hold our ornaments up for about a month. 

This year our efficiency was better than ever, but our choice was more mess than beauty. You see, we've brought home a tree with a broken spine. It tilts severely away from the wall it's supposed to parallel. Our eyes were so rosy in love with the pine needles and our noses overwhelmed with the pine effervescence that we didn't notice the lean. And, it endears us to that damn tree. 
As we walk by and it seems to lean over as to dip its head in a goodbye, we giggle. We, too, dip and wave in passing. We diagnose its condition -deemed incurable. We tilt our heads in the opposite to make it stand straight. And, we love that tilted tree. But, isn't that what this season's about? It's about His love for our tilted, skewed human way of doing things. The way that's usually messy and more work than less and all kinds of dirty. 

And, in the spirit of the season, a little piece of me lets go of the looks of it being just right and loves the mess of it all. The tilt in all our lives that feels so ugly, but is, in fact, just lovely. 
This tree will enjoy tea time, countless hours of football and episodes of The First 48, a few novels, Christmas cards, meals, and giggles over the next few weeks. Maybe this year I'll be better about slowing down and drinking in those moments almost as dearly as I savor the beauty of our tree.

Coming home to a smiley, sparkly plant seems silly and ridiculous at best, but isn't that how the best things in life seem -silly and sort of pointless? The dearest of memories happen at the foot of this ridiculous little celebratory construct and, for that reason, it doesn't seem so silly or ridiculous anymore. 


  1. i love the tilty tree! what a fabulous tradition.

  2. I loooove that wine glass ornament! Haha! The real or fake debate was one of the first when I first got married too; we ended up going with real...every year =) . My husband still gripes about it from time to time but he knows it means a lot to me!

  3. That tree!!!!!! OMG!!!!!! I love it. Your corner of your house is so cute, i love your style!

  4. We buy 1, or sometimes 1 for each of us, special/meaningful ornament each year. So far we've been collecting little s'more snowmen that we think look like us. :P I really like your burlap tree skirt!

  5. I love your tree! It's so lovely!!

    Jamie @
    The Growing Up Diaries

  6. I love your resourceful tree skirt! I wish I mentioned mine now, my mother made it and it looks like a patchwork quilt.

    Tyson and I never argued about real or fake but our real trees have always had a slight imperfection which made them exactly perfect for us. I love your beautiful leaning tree in spite of it's imperfection, I wish blogs had a smell-o widget so you could share the smell too. :)

  7. Love the tree! We also have a tradition of getting a special ornament very year. :)

  8. "Not boobs or leather or watches, but Christmas trees" Girl, you crack me up! And I love your tilted tree. Ours tilts, too...and we were efficient ourselves in getting in and out of Lowe's with our $17 seven footer. I love the burlap tree skirt, I might steal that idea. I was out looking for a new tree skirt but the cheapest I could find was $40 and that was even at WalMart. Burlap = much cheaper + much cuter!

  9. love that y'all get a new ornament every year--such a good way to build up a collection! and the tilt is perfect. the tilty ones are always the best ones :)

  10. I love your tilted tree! That wine glass ornament is too cute :)

  11. Awww... I love that you guys pick out a special ornament each year!!!!! :D

  12. It's so lovely to hear about how you are combining your traditions and making your own :) Also, leaning trees and that kind of thing are DEFINITELY what Christmas is all about. In a few years you'll both be like "ahhh remember that Christmas we had a leaning tree?!" haha xx

  13. We had the same issues this year ! Guillaume wanted a fake tree, I wanted a real one. But we finally agreed on a fake one and we decorated it together :)


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