Well, of course, there’s the big tree. The one at Rockefeller Center in New York. We are going to see that next week, illness allowing. The area around it is much smaller and more intimate than it looks on television, and despite the large crowd, it’s very quiet there, except for the faint sound of digital camera buttons being pushed. And there are lots of people holding one arm up, which strikes you as strange until you realize they are taking pictures of the tree with their cell phones.
When I was a little girl, we would walk a few blocks to a place where we could buy a live tree and then drag it home. Sometimes it was snowing while we did that. One year, we inherited an artificial tree from a relative who was moving away, and it was beautiful, so I didn’t mind giving up live trees. The artificial tree had feathery branches—they must have been made of silk or something like that—and we got new ornaments—red satiny balls—to put on it.
When I was single, I would get a live tree from a stand not too far from my apartment and shove it into the open trunk of my little Toyota. Then I’d wrestle it into my living room and, after much finagling and getting tree sap in my hair, the tree would be standing upright between those frustrating screws that old-fashioned tree stands had. Sometimes, a friend would come over to help me decorate it.
When my husband and I were first married, we decorated the tree together—a live one—but when our daughter got to be a toddler, we decided to buy an artificial tree, so she could enjoy it for more days than it was feasible to keep a live tree up. She loved our first artificial tree, and she still talks about it. When it began to look ratty—to us, not to her—we bought a new one. Looking back, I wish we’d given her opinion more consideration.
So now we have an artificial tree with lights attached. My husband likes that. It’s very pretty, but it’s hard to find a Christmas tree that isn’t. I hope you’re enjoying yours, if you have one.
There’s something so odd and comical and hopeful and endearing about bringing a tree into your home and putting decorations on it and then looking at it every day. It’s the kind of thing that Christmas is all about: it doesn’t make sense, just like faith sometimes doesn’t make sense. But we do it, just as we believe in some things that maybe don’t make sense.
The Whos down in Whoville said it best:
Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!