“A tree.” She spotted one. It was hidden behind a much larger tree, its limbs misshapen in its attempt to fight for even a little sunlight in the shadow. “Dana has this tradition of giving a sad-looking tree the honor of being a Christmas tree.” She walked over to the small, nearly hidden tree. “I like this one. “It’s…”
He laughed. “Ugly?”
“No, it’s beautiful because it’s had a hard life. It’s struggled to survive against all odds and would keep doing that without much hope. But it has a chance to be something special.”
― B.J. Daniels, Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene
My dear friend, Mary, sent me this picture of the Christmas tree she and her grands decorated. I absolutely love this little tree and asked if I could share it with one of my stories. Thankfully, she agreed.
It is so special made even more so by the fact she fought back the urge to re-arrange! Proud of you and love you.
The older I get the more special these types of photographs are to me.
As I looked at this picture, I smiled and thought of some of my own childhood Christmas stories.
Like many young families, money was always tight at our house. Even more so at Christmas time.
I remember one Christmas when my parents had a rather heated discussion about buying a Christmas Tree. Dad didn’t think we should spend the money. Mom felt having a tree was important for “the kids.”
As I stood just outside of the kitchen door, my usual eavesdropping spot, I silently rooted for mom.
This “discussion” ended in a stalemate. This was not good. I knew from previous experiences our little house had just been put into the quiet zone.
My sisters and I understood this place all to well. Until some type of truce was called, words would be scarce–replaced by quick, sharp looks and heavy sighs. In kid-time this often seemed to last forever.
Being the super responsible oldest child, I felt it was up to me to help smooth things out.
I had a plan.
For a few days I checked out the different places trees were being sold. I knew I could find the perfect tree at a do-able price.
Because the adults were not speaking, I had the perfect set-up. Each evening at the supper table, I shared what I had found. I’d describe the trees I saw–the type, the size and all the different prices.
As I talked, my sisters and I looked from mom to dad, and back again. Each of us watched carefully, looking for any indication an answer had been found and we would have a tree and peace would return to our little world.
After a couple of nights of silence and sighs, I stopped reporting.
There was not going to be a tree.
As Christmas inched closer, I had a new worry.
This was serious.
It was now Christmas Eve.
If we didn’t have a tree, where would Santa put our presents?
This was a real worry for this oldest child. This worry kept me awake. Because I couldn’t sleep I noticed there was something different about the light outside our bedroom door.
It was red, and green, and yellow and….
Wait a minute.
Was I dreaming?
I climbed out of bed and walked slowly in the direction of the living room.
Wait a minute.
I rubbed my eyes. I blinked and blinked again.
Was this possible? Was it real?
There, in the middle of our dark living room, sitting on a small table, covered in the most brilliant lights I’d ever seen, was a beautiful, perfectly shaped Christmas tree.
The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.