Christmas Branch

When my children were young, we would sometimes have a live Christmas tree but most often we would have an artificial tree. My Mother purchased a life-like artificial tree when I was a pre-teen. It had plastic greenery that was shaped like the foliage on a real tree. It even had pinecones. We loved it. When my parents decided to forego the Christmas tree tradition they gave the tree to me to use with my young family. I patched it as it aged and began to fall apart. We used it until it could no longer stand and support its branches. It lasted until my kids were grown. I then found an artificial half Christmas tree. I could place it flush with the wall and only worry about decorating the side that faced the room. About five years ago, I went to a quarter tree. I love it almost as much as I loved the tree of my youth. It fits snuggly into a corner in my great room, goes up in a flash, and requires much fewer ornaments. It even has built-in lights! My kids joke about my continually shrinking Christmas tree, and suspect that in a Christmas in the not-too-distant-future they will arrive at my house to find that I’ve moved on to a Christmas branch, with one or two ornaments and a mini-flashlight from Harbor Freight twist-tied to the top.

Tree of Christmas Past
Tree of Christmas Present
Tree (Branch) of Christmas Yet-To-Come

This is similar to the evolution of my Christmas baking and cooking. When my kids were young, I would bake dozens of dozens of cookies. I would bake pumpkin and mincemeat bread in quantities that threatened the world supply of those Christmas staples. Phil and I would toil to make 20 plus dozen tamales. This would be done while holding down jobs and raising children in a home filled with Christmas joy and the resulting fatigue, frustration and income outpouring. My children have chosen to block most of those happy memories. My children, having long since left elementary school, no longer require classroom quantities of cookies. In retirement, I no longer have co-workers to shower with home-baked goodies. In the old-age that typically accompanies retirement, my baking demands have shrunk, much like my Christmas tree. Isn’t old age and retirement GREAT!

This year, Coronavirus-related restrictions have further decreased my baking demands. Mincemeat and pumpkin supplies are again safe. The Great Pumpkin that rose from the field on Halloween this year, illuminated by the full moon, but not witnessed by trick-or-treaters (which is sad, because they could have seen it more clearly with all of the light provided by that big bright moon) is safe. There are many more cookies and much more holiday breads that will not be leaving my home and will be available for me to snack on. My Christmas tree may be getting smaller, but I’m getting bigger. Merry COVID-19 Christmas.

8 thoughts on “Christmas Branch”

  1. I like the way you folded the skirt on the half Christmas tree. I could barely see the Harbor Freight flashlight. BTW, love those. Who is the child? I see your face in the child.
    Merry Christmas to you, Jennie!

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  2. “My children have chosen to block out those happy childhood memories.” 😁😂
    Heck, no. I hang onto every one of them!
    The trees, the 🌲 🌲.
    Growing up we had two Christmases. One at our house and then one at my grandparent’s, ten miles up the road. Santa came both places!!
    I remember when Grandma bought her silver colored aluminum tree. It was the thing!
    Dick and I originally had fresh trees but then bought an artificial one about 20 years ago. Just regular old size and green. We keep thinking … just one more year before we replace it. But then we don’t.
    We LOVE the tree. Dick puts it up and artfully adds the lights with his special 3D technique of in and out each branch. Then I decorate it. It is a holy experience for me. Each ornament has a story, a memory, a time, a person attached to it.
    Then the relaxing can begin. It’s so calming to look at the lights.
    Even in the year of COVID, some things remain the same. Thank God for tradition!

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Sadly, in my fervor to create the perfect Christmas, I would become stressed and grumpy with the kids. You are blessed to have beautiful memories and it sounds like you continue to create beautiful memories. You deserve both! Many blessings to you my lovely friend!

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  3. Loved your post, Jennie. I’ve been retired for about a year and have discovered that I love to write and share with others. I have grown children as well. All live hours away. My best Christmas present this year would be to see all of them and my four awesome grandchildren!. With just my husband and me at home, I decided to pull out my favorite pieces and our Christmas tree. It’s been a source of joy and the world’s best invention, Face Time, allows me to see the kids and their littles. I’ve seen how they decorate their homes this year and that’s been fun. We can find little islands of joy even in stressful times. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Cheryl

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    1. Thank you for liking my post, and your comment. I enjoyed reading your post too. You write very well! Incidentally, I too have OCD. I joke with friends that my OCD is so pronounced, that it is listed twice (it really is) in the “problems list” of my electronic health record. I often mention in my blog that employers love employees with OCD, because we intend to be workaholics. I lost my husband in November 2, 2019. I talked about it in my blog. I worked with nurses for 19 years and have the greatest admiration for the profession. Thank you for following me.

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