Thursday, December 2, 2010
It Simply Has to be Real
This is my first Christmas back in the States in quite a while. And I want to do it right, because I can.
My mom will be coming to visit for about a week, my husband will be here, and my husband’s parents and sister are going to drive down to spend part of Christmas day with us. Because Christmas is a time to spend with family if at all possible. We will take my mom to the late church service on Christmas Eve, because that’s what you do.
There will be presents – lots of them. All wrapped prettily, thank you very much (well, I can’t vouch for the ones my husband will have to wrap on his own – I have a personal rule about not wrapping my own gifts – but most of them will look pretty). And the presents will be under a tree. A real tree. Because that’s the way it’s done.
I haven’t been able to have a real tree for a lot of years. In Korea, I was away the one weekend they were selling actual trees. So I bought a fake, silver-tinsel, Charlie Brown kind of thing. It was convenient, because the lights were already on it. It sparkled. And it ended up being pretty useful, because they don’t have noble firs for sale in India. But I had to beg my family each year to send me Christmas-tree-scented candles. Even then, it just wasn’t the same.
You know, there are some things that just make a thing what it is. For me, at Christmastime, it is the combination of glittering lights (whether from the tiny lights on a tree, or reflected off the million golden ornaments in a booth at the Christkindlmarkt, or emanating from the candles set in a homemade advent wreath on my mother’s coffee table) and the unmistakable, inimitable scent of a fir tree. It is simply not Christmastime without those. Don’t get me wrong, it can be Christmas without those (December 25th does happen), but not Christmastime. The magic just isn’t there if those things are missing.
This year, I will have to compromise on having the whole family together, as my brother will be unable to join us. I will probably end up having to compromise on the food, because my husband wants to “do something different” and his mother shudders at the idea of a real Christmas goose. But I will not – repeat not – compromise on the tree. The tree requires no time off and no plane ticket, and is not subject to the need to please others’ tastes. Thus: no excuses.
When you’ve got the opportunity to do something right, you do it. So the Christmas tree? It simply has to be real. End of story.