The other day I was reminded of an old Christmas Eve tradition: that of putting up one’s tree on Christmas Eve for the celebration of Christmas the next day—like in It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Memory and, more recently, The Family Stone. It was never my family’s tradition. We put ours up on the 15th, my sister’s birthday, every year. But, for some reason, the idea of it has always pleased me.
I saw a little fir tree the other day growing on the land grant. It was about 16” tall, and I considered cutting it down today and decorating it. But I thought better of that idea and decided to leave it where it is; to celebrate it as a living tree. We’re supposed to be getting a very big snowstorm sometime today and I intend to walk out on the land grant to visit that little tree, decorated in nature’s white. What could be more beautiful than that?
I have stripped Christmas down to almost nothing. I have no tree, no exterior decorations. I give only one present and write only one card—both for my mother. And yet I believe I live Christmas more now than I ever have (except, maybe, for when I was very young and still believed in Santa, but that’s another story to tell on another day). Christmas is not about shopping malls and hustle and bustle for me. I don’t have a list of things I must do and get done. I’m not having dinner with some relative I don’t enjoy. Instead I’m spending Christmas making Date Nut Bread and Sweet Cream Biscuits and Mincemeat Pie—grilling steaks with Kim and his brother. Walking the dogs in the snow and putting another log on the fire.
And I’m wrapping my mother’s present and writing her card—late this year because I’ve been sick. But I think I might make this my new tradition, if Mom doesn’t mind getting her present late every year. It seems to represent that trimming of the tree on Christmas Eve for me.
I know all of you can’t simplify your Christmases the way I have and probably many of you wouldn’t want to. But, whatever your plans and desires are for this Christmas Eve Day, I hope they will be filled with love and many special blessings.
Love to you all,