After the Thanksgiving meal, my Mother asked me to help with putting up her tree. After I agreed, she asked, “Which tree do you want to put up?” “Unless you want some disappointed faces, we should put up the aluminum tree,” I replied. This was one of our Holiday traditions we had to keep alive.
When I was a kid, my Dad would bring home a live tree which he would keep in the chilly garage until the week before Christmas. Santa made a special trip at our house to bring the tree while we were sleeping. Being the oldest, I eventually got to help decorate while my brothers and sister slept, none the wiser that our tree was not magically produced by a special Santa excursion. When I was in High School, Dad brought home a shiny aluminum tree with a rotating color wheel. While this tree was never a favorite of mine, it became a special tradition for my son and his cousins. They equated Christmas at Grandma’s with that shiny aluminum tree with the pom pom branches each decorated with a single glass ball. They are all grown now, but that tree is one of the things that brings back happy memories to them and they look forward to seeing it every year. For those that don’t make it to Grandma’s, a picture is placed on Facebook, and all the cousins comment on what that tree means to them.
That tree shows a little wear and the ornaments are scratched and faded, but the tradition is what is important for those that grew up and cherished the Christmas’ past with the Grandparents. Preserving those traditions is an important glue for a family’s Holiday.
My Grandmother is now 100 years old. I can’t make it to her house in California, but when she talks to me on the phone this time of year, we always talk of our Christmas memories. She lives with her brother and they share a caregiver. With his help she still makes pies. Her pies and corn casserole was a favorite of mine. I miss her this time of year, but she is always in my heart.
I guess my Mom is stuck with that old aluminum tree. This Holiday tradition brings too much happiness to retire.