I wonder what our Christmas tree is thinking. I really think she is wondering why she has been decorated so late this year!
You see, we usually put up our Christmas tree before December just like all our neighbors. Then this morning when I woke up, I automatically glanced at the window and noticed our neighbor’s twinkling Christmas lights. Then darn! I realized that almost two weeks have crept in December!
The fact is, we’ve been very busy about so many things that we just didn’t have the time to put up the tree. So before the day ended, I made sure that it would stand again like it does every year. I could just imagine how the tree must have smiled in delight and even sighed from relief after I opened its box, fixed its leaves, and assembled it to stand proudly. Decorating is not exactly one of my strong points but with the small gift of the “eye-for-beauty” that was perhaps accidentally bestowed on me, I put on the ornaments carefully. Soon, the greens became a fresh silhouette of golds and reds with small brilliant lights. It may not be a masterpiece but I became glad when my family said that at last, there’s Christmas in the house.
I remember vividly the first Christmas Tree we ever had. I was nine that time when we just transferred to our new home some weeks before Christmas . Perhaps as a way of blessing our new home, my mom decided to have a Christmas tree – something that she never thought of before. Or perhaps it’s because we weresimply surrounded by pines. So I remember that day when my siblings and I accompanied our dad to the nearby hill. He went from tree to tree checking the pines although I really did not understand what he was looking for. Then he stopped at one particular tree and asked us if we liked it. We became excited and we told him to get it. I suppose that even Christmas trees choose the owner! My dad pruned it well and placed it on a stand. My mom chose a perfect place in the living room and when it stood well, we were all asked to help decorate it. There were some ornaments that she bought but we also made the others on our own. In fact, the star at the top of the Christmas tree that I just put up is the same star which my younger brother made years ago. Now that I think about it, I find it amazing that it survived all these years! But I’m glad it did. It serves as a link to that past when we, as children saw the magic of Christmas. On that particular day, every ornament placed on our tree was like precious gold. I bet the tree felt very special indeed! It took us some time to have it done because we competed as to whose idea was the best. Even my mom got carried away by all our petty arguments. But everything was done in the spirit of fun so when it was finally lit up for testing, we all looked up at the tree as if it was some kind of angel appearing before our eyes. For us, it was the best Christmas tree all over the world!
We kept the tradition every year after that. As we grew older however, things also started to change. Soon, we stopped using a real pine for the tree and we bought a commercial one instead which can be kept every year. I admit i do miss the real thing. The ornaments too were no longer handmade. The biggest change however is that we no longer sit around together to put up the tree. Somehow, in the past five years, the responsibility of putting up the Christmas tree fell on me – the sentimental one in the family. I am not complaining though because I know that whenever I do this, the entire family lights up whether they admit it or not. I also know that whenever the tree is lit up at night, they also feel the Christmas atmosphere of the yesteryears. It’s as if the Christmas tree casts a spell on each of us.
We don’t exactly have any other Christmas family tradition except for this. But isn’t it what traditions are all about? It is not just the tree but the essence it represents. It is a reminder of family togetherness in spite of our separate lives. Other families may have a more elaborate tradition but I believe the essence is the same -that of peace, joy, and love.
Now that I look at our Christmas tree with the special star on top, I couldn’t help but wish every family on earth a very Merry Christmas!