The day after Thanksgiving, I dragged in the red Christmas decoration boxes and detached the girls from their phones, amid strong protests, to force them to have fun with me. After a few eye rolls and threats, they realized they would have to humor me, and helped me unpack the 5.5 foot fake Christmas tree we have been using. Once the branches were all fitted and fluffed, in that moment both turned to me and said, “Why is the tree so small? Didn’t we have a taller one? This is so short.”

I was taken aback, and yes, just a little hurt and annoyed, thinking this was yet another bit of teen snark. I felt somehow defensive, as though I had something to be ashamed of, this tree I had considered more than enough for all these years. But then I saw them standing beside the tree, still laughing and commenting, and realized they were both taller than it. My tree had shrunk, as soon my world would become too small for them.

My heart eased, and I laughed as well, wondering if I should get a bigger tree this year. But they pooh-poohed the idea, and started picking up ornaments to hang. I rescued the crafts they had made in preschool and kindergarten, little paper hands decorated with tinsel, marshmallow Angels, ice cream stick picture frames, these were in danger of getting “accidentally” torn by embarrassed teens, damaged and thrown away!! Then the ornaments I bought for their first, second, third Christmases. Pooh bear and Dora and Strawberry Shortcake and Arthur and SpongeBob. They dug out the hot glue gun and actually repaired a few that had been damaged over time, a nutcracker got his arm back, a reindeer his nose. Amiga and Smokey got their ornaments on the tree. And this year, we added a tiny trombone and a Latin salsa dancer for the girls. We still needed something for Star, an ornament just for him.

There was a lot of giggling as they jockeyed for higher positions for THEIR ornaments, and several sneaky switches were made. The lower branches stayed a bit bare and I realized I would have to do those myself, neither girl was willing to bend down that far. I handed the tree topper, an angel, to them but they decided against it. It was too boring, too old, they said. We would buy something new this year.

Once I had packed away the rejected ornaments (blue and silver crystal and blown glass from last year, because this year we were apparently doing gold), the skirt arranged carefully (the girls remembered the train we used to setup under the tree), the lights turned on, the task completed. They hugged and kissed me and then vanished back into their rooms and I was left alone with the too-small tree.


christmas #christmastree #alkaessay

2015: the year my Christmas tree shrank.
Tagged on:             
%d bloggers like this: