Oh Tannembaum

I love seeing the inside of homes, especially once I get to know a person. I think a home is reflective of who the person is.  Are they messy?  Neat? Layered?  Readers? Entertainers?  There is so much you can tell in just a quick walk-through….I guess it really appeals to the nosy side of me.  I love my little home, and per my own assessment, I would have to think it says this about me:  Colorful! Whimsical! Bright! Modest! and Hyper-organized!

As I was trimming the tree today (as in decorating it, not anything involving a power saw), it occurred to me that one’s Christmas tree may also reflect the individual to whom it belongs.  There are people who go all out, year after year – new decorations, new theme, new levels of extravagance. There are people who have more than one tree – a tree for every room, even!  And then there are people like me, who delight in having the same old tree, year after year.  I like tradition to include a little of the expected and the ordinary.

So as I reflected on this today, I realized that this is what my Christmas tree says about me:

I like convenience.  My friends and family tease me because I love all things convenient.  And really, if you have the option, why would you not?  I pay someone to mow my lawn – a life-changing decision I made three years ago.  I have my Chinese food delivered to me rather than going out in the elements to get it myself.  So a few years ago, in line with my adoration of convenience, I decided enough with this “real tree” nonsense.  It doesn’t suit me.  It’s hard to find a good tree, and even a “good tree” can be a “bad tree” once you get it home.  It’s too tempting for the cats to use as a scratching post and knock it over (which of course has really happened).  Real trees drop needles everywhere that are still sticking around by the 4th of July.  I broke down after a few years of resistance and got an artificial tree. Three easy clicks and a flip of the switch and voila!  Convenient holiday cheer.  I love it! There is no turning back.


I am a sentimental fool.  Putting up the tree is a walk down memory lane.  I have ornaments from my childhood.  I have ornaments that friends gave me.  But some of my favorite ornaments of all are the ones my mother and grandmother made for me.  I have a set of ceramic holiday mice that are in all kinds of silly holiday situations interspersed throughout my tree.  They warm my heart and remind me of my humble roots.  This one sleeping in the matchbox is my all-time favorite.

I love to travel.  There are a whole bunch of things I like to do in this beautiful life of mine, but traveling is near the top of the list.  I love to travel to a new city and spend four days tearing it apart, finding every tiny little thing that city has to celebrate.  In the past, I used to buy all kinds of things when I would travel.  Over the years, however, I’ve simplified.  I now typically buy myself just one thing when I travel:  a new Christmas ornament depicting that place.  So now, years later, my tree is filled with all kinds of happy memories.  Each year, it is a delight to remember trips from the past and unwrap the new ornaments I’ve acquired for the year.  The new ornaments always go front and center on the tree. This year I added Seattle and Multnomah Falls, which is just outside of Portland, Oregon.  Such happy memories!

I am loyal.  I hope this is something the people closest to me know and understand…deeply.  I think loyalty is very important in this complicated world.  In any relationship – family, friends, colleagues – there will be times when the relationship may be tested. Times that are hard or unpleasant where you have to stand by one another.  I am that friend.  I will come see you at the hospital.  I will bring a platter of Jimmy Johns sandwiches when you move.  I will listen to you tell your tales of woe over and over.  And, it turns out, I will still hang you on my tree year after year, even when one of your legs fell off.  (Sorry, Northshore of Lake Superior Santa – you may be an amputee but I still love you.)

I have a sense of humor.  Maybe I don’t take life seriously enough, but really – if you are not laughing, what is the point?  I don’t get being anything other than happy, if I can help it.  And so, I try to add a little whimsy to everything I do.  I like to be a little weird.  I like to crack jokes at inappropriate times.  I like to work the room.  It’s just who I am.  When it comes to my Christmas tree, I like to think that the Elvis ornament I got in Memphis (one of the most fun trips I ever took with my best friend) really sets the tone.  Love you. Elvis.  And for the record, I could not agree more – we could use a little less conversation and a lot more action.

So all of that being said, Christmas is a time to reflect on all that matters. The life I’ve built for myself is full.  It has love and laughter and meaning. It’s funny how something as simple as an ordinary tree can depict all that, and yet somehow it does.  So from my house to yours…enjoy this wonderful holiday season.  Here is my tree in all its glory:

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