This is the time of year when we hear how hectic getting ready for Christmas is and how awful. The decorating! The shopping! The wrapping! Stress all around.
Somehow the rush passes my household by. We are low key about Christmas. I send out cards via email and bake a favorite recipe or two, which we share with others. Frequently they share in return which doubles our selection. We don’t spread decorations about the house and yard. It’s not because I’m a Scrooge, it’s just that we have a different outlook.
Our decorating consists of a tree and a ceramic nativity set that I made years ago. We put up the tree on my birthday, the 12th of December, and that is about as much tradition as we can muster. We used to go and cut a live cedar down on my dad’s place, which we now own. The fun was finding the tree and getting it into the house. It was always much too tall and had to be pared down. It didn’t look as big out among the other trees, of course. If the tree had a less-than-desirable side, we would drill little holes, plug them with branches and wire them in.
One year we had what I’ve been told is a Charlie Brown tree. Our 6-year-old grandson found a tall, dry giant ragweed plant that he pulled out of the ground and declared it “my Christmas tree.” We were ready for our tree so we brought it in, put it in a 5-gallon bucket of shelled corn and strung the lights. The kids came and decorated it as they often do. It was a quick project and turned out very cute. We didn’t have to water it or worry about it drying out — it was already dry and it made one little boy proud.
This year that grandson — now 10 — and his granddad did one step better. They went and cut a cedar that was so small it wouldn’t support lights. Together they decorated it with toy farm implements — mostly green, some of which have yellow sections, and a few red pieces of equipment were added in for contrast. The tree is on one end table and the nativity scene, which includes an open-style barn that my dad made for me, sits on the other table. Not only did the decorating take a brief time, the undecorating will also be simple.
These unusual trees are perfect for the off years when most of the family spends the holiday with their other half’s families or travels to some place exotic. Our sons and families, nieces and other extended family members plan that every other year they will all gather here, where they grew up, for a cousin’s Christmas. That way at least once a year we can all be together.
Some have fancy traditions and others are more laid back. One thing you can count on is that each year things can change and then you have new traditions. Whatever you do, enjoy the time and have a Merry Christmas. ❖