I was 24 when I got my first Christmas tree. It was an incredibly cheap tree from my local craft store. I bought multiple boxes of poorly painted ornaments, all for $10. Oh yeah. It was a serious splurge!
As I got older, I slowly upgraded. I bought the nicer tree as the cheap one fell apart. I saved up money so I could go to the holiday floor of Marshall Field’s (the Macy’s of the Midwest) and buy eight crystal ornaments at $25 each. It was a crazy luxury but worth eating peanut butter sandwiches on Friday nights for more than a month.
I have always prided myself on my Christmas tree. I know, it may seem like something frivolous, but it’s one of the things I’ve allowed myself to indulge in.
When children came along, it seemed irresponsible to keep putting it up. Don’t kids pull down everything? My husband, who recognized how much joy seeing the tree each year brought me, told me to put it up. We would work as a team to keep the kids from killing the tree.
One afternoon, I was with a number of other moms and someone commented on the hostess’ tree, which was covered in kid-themed and handmade children’s ornaments. Before I knew it, they were laughing about how things had changed since they had children, including their holiday tree. No longer did they enjoy their own ornaments. Oh no. The kids ruled everything. They were also laughing about people who insist on still having the same tree they had before children. How foolish were they?
I listened quietly, feeling a bit shamed that I was one of those fools. But as I listened to these ladies, I realized how sad it was they gladly handed over something that made them so happy at the holidays. Just because a person has kids doesn’t mean they stop being a person! Why can’t I have the best of both worlds at Christmas!
That year, my boys got their very own tree. They were toddlers, but I didn’t care. I wanted to start the tradition right away. It’s important for children to have their own Christmas magic. But it’s also important for them to realize that the entire world doesn’t revolve around them 24/7. We moms have our own likes and dislikes. We have our own thoughts. And we have our own darn tree!