This I Believe

Lindsay - Stillwater, Minnesota
Entered on December 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: Christianity

I Believe in Christmas Trees

I believe in Christmas trees. The soft glow of the lights, the scent of pine trapped in the house for weeks because it’s too cold to let it out, and the smile the tree brings to my son’s face, all give Christmas trees their eudaemonic trademark. For me, Christmas is all about the tree.

Like many people, I celebrate Christmas every year with family. But it is the tree, rather than faith, that unifies my family on Christmas. Having the tree, adorned with all of its lights and glitter, is my family’s tradition that separates Christmas from Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or Easter.

My thoughts of Christmas are nostalgic, though not of the presents or food, but rather where my family put the tree, the color of the lights, and the ornaments. I liked the ornaments my brother made best. The way he wrote his name—Demian, in glue around them and how not one piece of glitter seemed out of place. My ornaments, with a four-year-old’s chicken-scratch and misspelled first name couldn’t even compare.

Every December, when the outside looks dead and frozen, my siblings and I braved the cold to find a Christmas tree, the only thing outside that was still green and looked alive. We would try to find the tallest and thickest tree, but once we came home, neither of those things mattered. No matter the size of the tree, it would still smell wonderful, still light up the living room, and we would still decorate it—together.

My parents divorced when I was 16. My sister and I lived with our mother (Demian was 26 with a family of his own) and spent holidays split between parents, one year with Mom, the next with Dad. Although Christmas was different, the important things never changed. The weeks leading up to Christmas involved decorating two trees, one with each parent. The Christmas tree made us feel like we were home; like we were a family despite the separation. It’s important to me that my son, Braeden, feels the same way.

The families that share Christmas with Braeden have two things in common: they love Braeden undeniably, and they have a tree at Christmas time. I hope the tree helps Braeden feel that we are all his family, despite being in separate places. I hope that even when all the make-believe of Christmas is gone for him, a time when he no longer believes in elves and flying reindeer, he will still believe in Christmas trees.