It’s Tree Time

Most people put their Christmas tree up after Thanksgiving and that is our targeted weekend as well. This year there is a shorter time span between Thanksgiving and Christmas and with several other obligations, we began to ask the question, “When are we decorating for Christmas?”

The other, bigger question is what about the tree? Last year I wrote this about our Giving Tree Project.

My daugher and I began a family tradition about four or five years ago. She has a tender heart and when she saw the little lamb on the cover of the World Vision catalog, she wanted to do something to help a family in need for Christmas. The little lamb cost a fair amount, which initiated a dialogue as to how we could pay for it. That was when the idea of making our Christmas tree, instead of purchasing a live one, began. We had so much fun and it warmed our hearts and home. Now it is an ongoing tradition.

All in our family have felt rushed for one reason or another recently. Christmas will soon be upon us and the Spirit of Christmas hadn’t shown up yet. As to the tree, real or created, I generally leave the choice up to our daughter; otherwise it becomes a duty and not a gift. She has cheerfully forfeited the live tree many years and we’ve spent precious time creating a work of heart on our own. When I asked her what she wanted to do, she replied that she didn’t know. Short time span and indecision lead to my decision not to purchase a tree. Our girl has been sick, so decorating the basics wasn’t a fun idea let alone building our own tree. Thanksgiving weekend came and went and we had no tree.

We have a neighbor. Actually we have lots of them and they are all nice. But one has a nickname of Great Neighbor (per my husband’s designation) or GN for short. And she is. When she heard of my tree dilemma, she offered her lilliputian tree off her front porch. I gladly accepted. It is short in stature, like Zacchaeus. We are no longer treeless. She had another idea too! It takes a Great Neighbor to know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t mind knowing that there is a almost perfectly good tree on the curb. One of our neighbors had a tree that decided to croak a few strands of lights and they were upgrading. It was a beautiful tree and I am not, even a little bit, above garbage-picking. When I ran the exciting idea passed my husband, he was unenthusiastic. He fussed, “Is that your less than clever way of trying to get an artificial tree in this house?!”

Honestly, he wasn’t that harsh. The tree and my bright ideal lay on the curb to be taken away by the local garbage service. Phooey.

He grew up planting, pruning, and harvesting “Christmas trees” in Wisconsin. He loves everything about real trees, except for the mess they make. I cannot even use the mess as ammunition for a fake tree, because he willingly vacuums up all the pine needles without complaining. A fake tree, to him, is a betrayal of his childhood memories.

So, I am in limbo land. No fake tree (except lilliputian) and no created tree. What do to? I longingly stared out the back window at a tall clump of ornamental grass. For years I have thought of putting a bow around it and glittering the plumbs. Maybe I could make a tree out of that? Nope. It snowed during the night and the grass was flat on the ground. The snow melted and they were up! Maybe… Nope! It rained on my grass and my hopes. Days later, it was a 40 degree, sunny day and I went for it.

 After cutting several small clumps of grass and adhering it to the wire cage, the sun was sinking and my hands were freezing so I got my husband’s samurai steel hedge shears and a tarp. I cut the grass off and dragged it into the garage. Later I solicited my husband to help me finish the “tree” and I mean that in the loosest use of the word. Helping was his penitence for curbing my dream.

 Making the tree fulfilled my creative curiosity. It is flocked and bedazzled with glitter spray, but still in the garage. I haven’t decided if it will be invited in yet. It looks crazy and not like a tree at all. Actually, it looks pretty much like it did in my backyard. If I had put a bow around it, I could have cut it off and saved a lot of time.

 Now what? I don’t know yet. Sometimes experiencing the release of creative experimentation is enough satisfaction in itself. I feel satisfied that after wanting to try this project several times and fighting the weather several times, I seized the opportunity and had a nice time with my husband, instead of my daughter, making the tree. Sometimes life surprises you with impromptu peculiar moments that linger in your heart for seasons.

 Unless I get an inspiration as to how to decorate my “tree” it might sit in the garage or maybe make an appearance on our front porch. That will be ok with me. I plan on decorating lilliputians with jingle bells and it already has a Santa hat sized for a mouse adorning its top.

 While I feel satisfied with creating my grass tree, I feel even more satisfied knowing that the check our family writes to–purchase an animal–will ensure a better life for a another family somewhere on the other side of the world. To that family and yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas.

True love is giving, at your own expense, in order to bless and for no other reason. Jesus did that for me. He gave up His place of prestige to move into earth’s neighborhood in order to give His life so that I could have an eternal one with Him. I feel a fresh breath in my lungs and the Christmas Spirit just showed up. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas afterall.


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