I've been thinking a lot about what the holidays mean to me this year.  And I've come to realize that although we all have different traditions we follow, every year can be different too.  And I think that's a good thing.  Not to say annual rituals and traditions aren't great, but when you come to a fork in the road, and you need to change it up, it's all about how you can choose to look at it.  You can be sad that everything's changing, or you can take the opportunity to be creative and work with what you've got.  So after years of big beautifully decorated trees, here is our Christmas tree this year, a little Charlie Brownish for sure.

You see, we always had a tradition of going to a particular Christmas Tree Farm.  Mike would pull out his ancient (disgusting), plaid flannel pullover, I'd make a thermos of hot cocoa, and we'd go cut down a tree. And by "we" I mean "he".  This was very important to him.  No fake trees.  I was on the fence.  I'm Jewish so it's all just fun and festive decorating to me.  Anyway, in 2020, due to Covid, we bought our first fake tree.  And let me tell you it has its perks.  It was pre-lite, for once thing!  

My husband was only picky about two things in life, where we'd park in the football stadium for tailgating, (he'd move the car at least 5x before he found the "perfect" spot), and which Christmas tree to choose at the farm.  He'd change his mind 10x until we found the "perfect" tree.  And then he'd saw it down.  It was tradition, it was a ritual, it was fun for all those years, I have great memories, and now it's over.  Time to change it up.

This year, due to Mike's loss of cognitive function, he has no idea it's even Christmas.  I'll keep telling him, but honestly, if I didn't decorate he wouldn't notice.  And he can no longer follow directions like "get down the holiday boxes".  When I went into the garage to get them myself, I was very grateful the Hanukkah box was on a shelf I could reach.  But then I realized that he had put the Christmas tree, the stand, and most of the decoration boxes on the very top shelf.  The boxes are heavy and big, and the garage ceiling is high so when I say top shelf I mean higher then my 5'2 self on a ladder can reach.  I cried for a minute.  Then I decided it wasn't worth killing myself on a ladder for.  I found a box I could reach, and in it were the things I love to put on the mantle.  I found some lights and some ornaments.  We have so much that I just could not see buying new things.  So I put the lights around my living room and used what I found.

Do I miss the tree?  Yes, but it looks pretty this way too.  I hung the ornaments I found on my rubber tree, (said Charlie Brown's mother, probably).  And I decorated our mantle.  I'm happy with it.  And believe me, I'm not deprived.  This week I decorated our 12ft Christmas tree at work.  In my collage days I got extra credits volunteering to decorate holiday windows in NYC, (a la Rhoda Morgenstern), and that was so much fun. 

It's good to remind ourselves that we are the Caption of our ship and we can change course whenever necessary.  Don't fight against the current, you could drown!  For the future, I dream of traveling through the Christmas Markets of Europe over the holidays.  As for this year, I'll be happy with a roaring fire, a cozy blanket, and a big cup of hot cocoa :)

From Our Home To Yours, Happy Holidays!