Since we’re usually travelling for the holidays, I don’t always put up the tree. This year there’s no excuse since we’re staying in town. So I’m feeling a little guilty about not dragging it out. Maybe I’ll do it.
Halfway through my childhood, my mom had stopped putting up the tree. She’d thrown it away maybe thinking we were too old for it, or maybe our house was too small, there were too many of us, and we were getting bigger. Not enough room?
One Christmas season after my mom left for work my brother Shane (about 14 at the time) said, “I’ll be goddamned if we’re gonna do without a tree again this year.” He grabbed a saw and asked, “Who’s coming?”
A couple of hours later, he came back with a six foot evergreen he and my little brothers had cut from the woods nearby. We made chains from construction paper, all sorts of glittery decorations and put that sucker in the living room. We surprised my mom to tears. The next day she took us to the store for some icicles and spray snow. We all thought the icicles made that tree look “store-bought”. Spray snow was newish and since we had never really seen much real snow in Louisiana, we went crazy with that stuff. Kept going back to the store for more and more snow. We sprayed everything. The tree. The windows of the house, the car windows, each other…
I have to admit. That was my favorite Christmas ever because of Shane’s damn tree and all the fuss we made over it. It was the first time I ever saw my mom get the Christmas spirit. Years later around Christmas time I had an appendectomy and Shane brought me a gift, a little potted Christmas tree. It was about 8 inches tall with little tiny decorations on it. It was so special to me I saved all the little ornaments, still have them. This was about 20 years ago.
This will be our first Christmas without Shane, he died a couple of months ago. I think I will put up my tree and dig out those tiny ornaments.
Edited Note: Toward the end of writing this, I had some big shiny tears splashing down into my lap. They looked like melting icicles.