Monday, December 19, 2011

Decorating the Tree

Procuring a Christmas tree each year and decorating it is not always an activity that I face with anticipation, especially since we haven't had children participating in the ritual for several years. However, after I heard a piece on the radio the other day about ugly ornaments, I thought I might offer a meager response. This guy was going on about how Christmas trees are continually held captive by young children with lots of energy and no aesthetic sensibility or some such rubbish. Crudely made formless ornaments from years gone by dragged out of closets and shown to the world year after year after year to everyone's dismay. Whatever.

Maybe the guy was using reverse psychology or some other angle to tell us that this was all to the good, but to me it was a bit unclear. The salient feature of using well-worn ornaments, in my opinion, no matter the condition or origin, is to preserve memory and make connections with past years. In our house that means the ceramic pigs from my mother-in-law's house. It means the soccer balls, baseball bats, and sleds from our kids' athletic activities. We've got a cat from a bookstore that's been gone for 20 years and a grass skirt-wearing Santa that I picked up in Hawai'i while attending a conference several years ago.

We have musical instruments: a French horn eventually gave way to the electric guitar. Everyone in the family knows that story. There are two glass birds that my wife gave to me in honor of my mother who taught us all to appreciate our winged friends. There's a metal spider and a blue whale from the years during which the animal kingdom was a dominant force in the household. A straw man with a sombrero riding a donkey from my wife's childhood. And atop it all are two angels colored in pencil with intricate care by our eldest many years ago.

I don't have any ornaments from my own childhood or my parents' legacy, but I'm glad that we have a collection of stuff that we've preserved and can hand down to our children at some future time. Anything that brings generations together is OK by me.

No comments:

Post a Comment