Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Trees Past

Every December, I have fights with Christmas trees.  Decorating, lights, nothing seems to work like I want it to, or I can't figure out a way to make my 'vision' come to fruition.  I don't know why I obsess about the tree decorating, but I do.  I've been known to get up in the middle of the night and re-decorate an entire tree.  It's a sickness really.

I've been fighting with a hand tied ribbon tree topper all morning, yes, I fight with inanimate objects.....only sometimes though.  I wonder, as I sit covered from head to toe in glitter from my six failed attempts at perfecting my bow-tying, am I the only person that does this?  Is there a twelve step program for problems of this nature? Sometimes I feel so alone in this suffering.

My mother always produced lovely trees, she never had my problem.  We would come home from school and be dazzled with the most beautiful trees any eyes had ever seen.  If we had made some ghastly ornament out of a toilet paper roll and red lace at school or primary, she'd happily hang it in the center of the tree for all to see.  Luckily, my son is a real boy's boy, he doesn't care about these types of things.  If he ever made a hand-made ornament at school, I never saw it.  Anything like that would have probably been crushed at the bottom of his backpack and not discovered again until Easter.  He would have considered that a 'girl' thing and ditched it or crumpled it long before arriving home.  I'm grateful too, because it would have really tested me to interrupt the perfect color scheme of one of my obsession trees with a kindergarten ornament.  OMG, I know that is so terrible!   I guess I don't understand the meaning of Christmas, or I'm just a psycho, tree-obsessed freak.  For the record, if my child had shown up with a hand-crafted tree ornament, I would have totally talked him into his 'very own tree' in his room for his special creation.  Is that horrendous?  Wait, don't answer that.

Back to my mother and her trees. German women love Christmas, they love decorating, and she is no exception.  My uncle had a fantastic Christmas tree lot in our hometown, and every year he would let my mom pick out her heart's desire.  Sometimes flocked, sometimes natural, always the most amazing and magical trees.  She would effortlessly make them into a visual masterpiece, in short order it seemed.  

Every Christmas Eve, my dad would take a photo of the family tree, and then a picture of my brothers and I in front of mom's fabulous interpretation.  Some of the pictures are of only one kid, which meant the other two refused to stand there patiently for the photo op.  He didn't care about that, whoever was willing to stand there and behave long enough, that's who was captured for posterity.  He didn't have time to 'mess around' with whatever nonsense hyper kids get into on Christmas Eve.  He was probably so irritated at the prospect of staying up all night putting toys together, it's no wonder he would be totally annoyed by 9:00 pm.  We used to have some real meltdowns over this yearly holiday photo.  Now that I think about it, I only know of one picture that has all three of us in it.  Good times.  Of course we didn't have digital photos back then, it was film baby!  Sometimes it was the only photo taken all year, and usually he would cuss the 'damn light meter' which never seemed to work.

A few years ago for Christmas, my dad patiently scanned over 2000 slides into his computer and gave all of us ingrates a disc with the photos.  Probably the best gift I've ever received.  Here are some of my faves, in all of their 70's and 80's glory.

 Luckily the obligatory sibling feuds in front of the Christmas tree stopped when the grand kids arrived.

Hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane, now it's back to making memories for my son.......memories that will inevitably land him on a psychiatrist couch because he wasn't allowed to help with decorating trees.  I'm sure Christmas will be TOTALLY spoiled if the loops on my tree topper don't come out even.  Happy Holidays!  


LP said...

Ooooh, do I spy a Weeble People treehouse in that picture??? :)

Anonymous said...

Love the pics.. do you remember the birds in granny's tree that chirped? Love the new blog.. you have a great gift for the writen word. Keep up the wonderful work. Talk soon!!!

Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess said...

So happy to have discovered your blog!

That is an amazing library of old photos. Quite impressive. If only we all had that kind of record to look back on... we might not repeat so many of the indignities our own parents subjected us to. :-)

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