Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect!
Owens Lee Pomeroy
Tis the time of year to get Christmas up in the house. Before us, the annual trek out to the tree farm, family in tow. Riding the haycart out to the fields, wandering the aisles of growing firs. "How about this one?" "Hey! Come see this one." and the inevitable "Just pick one for cripe's sake."
Then a stop at a small town BBQ joint before returning home to open the numerous boxes from the attic accompanied by exclamations of "Oh, isn't this fun?" and "Remember when you made this? When you were two?" "Put on some Christmas carols" followed by rearranging the furniture, getting the tree straight, the lights and ornaments placed. All the remaining decorations spread throughout the house and Bingo, the house transformed into an enchanted winter wonderland, Christmas on the horizon.
Back in the 70's when I met my husband and visited his house at Christmas, I was appalled to discover a tree similar to this in his parent's living room -
What kind of people would have THAT for a tree? Who didn't endure the family hunt for the perfect real tree? No smell of true pine in your house? No handpicking of prickling pine needles at tree's end?
Of course, that was just the beginning of the "fake tree" boom. Suddenly families could simply grab their tree out of the box in the attic and have it up in few moments. No wrangling the pine through the front door and hallway. No arguments on its best side, whether it was straight or not, the husband lying on the floor, twirling the trunk, losing patience while the decision made.
Alas, back to the present tense. I had hoped others in the family might garner interest in doing as always. That as my kids drifted in from jobs and college far away, they, too, might welcome the norm and perhaps generate some interest for me. Funny thing, they don't really seem to have the enthusiasm either.
Gives me pause for relief, and guilt. Relief because my kids are older now. I don't need to put on a perfect Christmas with all the baking, music, festivities. That I, as they, do want the family dinner on Christmas Eve, but maybe we don't need all the decoration hoopla. Guilt, because my husband, under protest, already put up the lights outside.
Perchance my apathy presides because it has been a very full year and I'm tired. Just plain tired.
I awoke four hours ago. I'm still sitting in bed, deciding on the process to come. I've perused via my laptop the shops in Austin with trees for sale. Not a normally barren lot with dry trees cut in October, but a store with real fake trees with the lights already on them. When I find one that arrives on wheels, completely decorated, and can be pushed back into its box and automatically lifted into the attic like magic, I'm buying it.