Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Christmas Ever

The first year I got a Grand Fir, the kind that smells so heavenly, I didn't get it until a few days before Christmas, due to finances being rather low (my boys were very understanding about this, and had not complained at all, despite the obvious lack of Christmas in the house), and I hid it in the back yard until Christmas Eve. I spent the next couple of days clandestinely gathering white and silver ornaments for the tree. Anything in white or silver was game. A tiny white teddy bear, silver doilies (rolled into a cone shape and glued), crocheted snowflakes given to me by a friend years ago, tiny silver balls intended for a tiny tree, dozens of mini ornaments in pearl and white, bought years ago on clearance somewhere, and sheer white ribbon with silver trim. After the boys went to bed on Christmas Eve, one of my brothers came over to give the tree a fresh cut and help us get it in the door, and my baby sister stayed up with me to light and decorate it. All in silver and white, it looked magical.
In desperation, with my limited funds, I had gotten each boy their own box of cereal, case of ramen, and some mac-n-cheese, and wrapped these up so they'd have something more to open Christmas morning. It felt like a lame attempt. At the same time, having come from a large family (8 kids), I appreciated the value of having food that was only yours, so you didn't run the risk of "hey, who ate all the ramen?" if you didn't happen to have gotten your share.
No one can remember what any of the other gifts were, but if you ask either boy about his favorite Christmas, both of them, without any hesitation, will immediately say "that Christmas with the silver and white tree, when we went to bed with almost nothing, and woke up to that beautiful, magical tree."
I keep expecting them to tell me how lame it was/is to wrap up cereal and ramen for them, but every year, they remind me I need to get them their usual Christmas groceries, and make sure I wrap them up. And every year, they try to get me to hold off getting the tree. They always want me to wait and put it up Christmas Eve, so they can wake up to that same feeling. Sometimes, they get what they want.

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