Today I donated my old Christmas tree. For three years I have wanted a new tree. I had become annoyed with the amount of glitter and white artificial snow that fell from it. I would find it all over the house well past Valentine’s Day. I had become frustrated that I could never fit it back into the tree box the way it came out. The days that I put it up or took it down became days of dread that left me looking and feeling like a glitter-covered wrestler that had lost the match. For three years when the stores clearanced all holiday items after Christmas, I looked for a new tree. One that was easy to assemble. One without glitter or snow. One that I felt was beautiful enough to take over the role of center-of-attention for my holiday season. For three years I failed.
This year I didn’t wait for a clearance sale. This year I began searching the ads right after Halloween. I visited stores. I took photos of trees I thought I would like. I studied assembly options, light lumens, and branch counts. Then I found her. The perfect 7’ 6”, 800 light, 4,335 branched tipped queen of my future holidays.
She sits in my living room all aglow displaying shiny blue ornaments and family memories. The decorations sparkle enough that I do not miss the glittered snow branches of my old tree. I am in love with her.
I didn’t want to let go of the old one until I had the perfect new one. Now sufficiently in love, it was time to say goodbye to the glittered glory of the past. Her box is tattered and not worthy of the sweet tree inside. I printed a photo of what she looked like in all her grace when she is up and decorated. I taped it to the old box, so the new owners would understand that the container was not an indication of what was hidden inside.
As I searched for the perfect photo and relived memories of the last ten Christmases, I remembered the year she came into my life. She was an after-Christmas clearance find. I remember the January day I brought her home being so excited I put her together just to see how beautiful she would be for the next year’s holiday. She dripped glitter and snow on the floor, but I didn’t care. She was stunning. I carefully put her away and waited in anticipation for the December snow to fall and the sound of jingle bells to fill the air so I could bring her out of the box to decorate her.
I saw photos of her that first year where she reigned like a queen surrounded by beautiful packages and shiny ribbon. I saw photos of her with new babies and toddlers laying under her in awe of the magic held in sparkly lights and holiday secrets.
Family photos of us perched in front of her. Photos of our sweet dog who is no longer with us and new dogs with red bows and holiday sweaters posing patiently in front of her.
I felt guilty that I ever grew tired of her.
I felt shame that I was giving her away.
My heart hurt.
To the new owners- I hope you love her, enjoy her, and take care of her. I hope you realize that the energy of our family goes with her. The love, the joy, the compassion of us lives in her branches and her sparkly white lights. It was time for her to leave us, but every light of her works, and she still has enough glitter to sprinkle joy in a new home.
Be gentle with her.
And maybe you can find her a new box worthy of a queen.
Pennie’s Life Lesson: Objects carry memories and the energy of love.
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