I received a lot of fantastic gifts for Christmas (Alex and Ani! A terrarium! Cashmere hat & gloves!), but I want to spotlight one in particular.
When I was young, every single house I knew had a ceramic Christmas tree. They were maybe 18″ tall (but varied), with glass or plastic bulbs stuck into them, and then lit with a light bulb on the inside. Some were handpainted, some were factory produced. My grandmother and my mom had them.
Mom’s broke. MomMom’s was passed onto someone who cared more about the tree than I did.
Last year I started seeing my friends post pictures of their trees, inherited from parents and grandparents. And then I wanted my own tree. It was an unreasonable desire, much like my urge to go on one of the NKOTB cruises. But this little tree symbolizes the innocence and wonder of my childhood Christmasses, when everyone in my family was still alive and the it was all magic and no stress.
But what my sentimental heart didn’t realize was that along the way these trees became “vintage.” And my choices for getting a tree for this Christmas became 1) Pay out the nose for a new one, 2) Pay out the nose on eBay for an old one that could be great or could smell like cat pee, or 3) Steal the one that you just said aloud that your mother still has in her attic.
I gave up and called off the search, deciding to trawl through yard sales this summer for some clueless schlub selling one for $5.
And then on Christmas I opened the last box under Mom’s tree and …
This little tree came from Fredericksburg, Virginia. John and Kristen stopped there on the way back from their road trip to Florida. Kristen came across it in an antique shop, and after multiple texts back and forth, brought it up to NJ.
I can’t lie, I ugly cried on Christmas morning. I’m about to ugly cry right now. It’s a blessing to have family that cares so much about your irrational desires that they will bring home a ceramic Christmas tree from 200 miles away, just to make you smile.
Thank you, family.