Saturday, December 13, 2014

the weeks before Christmas

White Christmas is on the television at 2 in the afternoon and the Christmas tree is lit.  She's a minuscule version of my typical Christmas tree, but I love that she's bottom heavy and fits in a big galvanized tub.  Decorations are vintage, all glass ornaments, some indented and discolored.  When they hit the floor they shatter and today, that's okay.  It brings me back 25 or 30 years ago and I love that.  I have a few glass birds with feather tails who clip onto the ends of a branch.  My Irish grandmother would not have approved as birds of any kind in your house, whether on a plate or your wallpaper, well, they were "bad luck".  But I love these little birds.

I would like to feel certain I will always have a Christmas tree.  A real one.  I will admit to feeling tempted to skip the tradition that sometimes feels like a ritual.  It's several errands,  it's messy and it's expensive.  Ebeneezer (the man I love) could not care less about this live intrusion in the family room.  The lights are a hassle and some people are particular about the placement of those lights.  Also, you have to water the thing.  But here's the deal.  A big part of Christmas is resurrecting memories.  Blissful memories.  I don't ever want to skip that.

I read something recently (I wish I could remember where) that talked about those old Christmas movies I love.  The point was that the movies aren't really that spectacular.  I mean, I feel passionate about White Christmas and I'm not a fan of musicals.  The sets are cardboard and fake, I know.  But when I turn that movie on it transports me right back to Lowell, Massachusetts, to that house on Windward Road.  My sister and I in the finished basement in front of the tree waiting for that movie.  We waited for it each year, no DVR, no VCRs - just that one opportunity each year and we loved it.  Later I shared that tradition with my children and felt the same way.  Now they do the same.  So boys, this is what it's all about.  We really understand the tortured rolling of the eyes.  But it's not about the movie, men.  It's about the way it feels to watch that move.  So Bing Crosby, I will always love you, no matter what that new PBS documentary says about you.

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