My mom and her sister have never been very close due to their thirteen year age difference, and after my mom moved out of the house and on with her life, the distance traveled with them; it impacted our entire family. Of course, as a family, the love was always there, but it never became prevalent until my visit this past fall when a Christmas tree brought us all together.
A shuffling of footsteps, shouting of orders, and the sound of drawers opening and closing permeated the air as we all hustled to get ready for the tree farm. In a panic and crush for time, we left the house, swallowed by heavy coats, hats, and rain boots. The tree farm was all that I had imagined it to be: a privately owned lot of at least thirty acres filled with beautiful varieties of “the Christmas tree.” Our family had picked one within forty minutes, after much deliberation, and it was perfect. Well, I thought it was. After trimming and molding the tree to fit our needs, we left the farm, filled with pride and accomplishment.
At home, we were greeted by smiles and “Oh, my!”s. Sitting in the living room, we all recounted the day’s deeds with enthusiasm and the constant repeating of three words: our Christmas tree. The speakers in the background began to crackle before revealing the smooth, calming tone of delightful Christmas music. Our spirits were suddenly lifted higher than ever before, and the Christmas decorations, the dressing for our specially picked, slightly imperfect tree, came filing out of boxes that had been neglected during the year. It was then, amidst the soothing glow of the tree, a somewhat perfectionist aunt giggling with my happy-go-lucky mother, and my grandmother overseeing it all, when I truly felt the love. The love that had never been fully showcased before. After together picking out a Christmas tree and then transforming it into the symbol of the holiday season, our family had finally connected.
I believe in the power of Christmas trees. I believe that this symbol of collection has the power to bring things together: the collection of branches, the collection of the sweet smelling needles that leave a trail as you drag your tree through the house, the collection of beautifully ornate or simply homemade dressings, and on Christmas morning, the collection of gifts nestled under its bottom-most branches, ready for ambush. In my life, a new collection was formed. One of individuals who had allowed distance and time to separate them completely and this time allowed a Christmas tree to finally bring them together as the most important collection of all- a family. This, I believe.
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