December 14, 2011 12:28:00 PM
This will be a different Christmas. For one, the traditional 20-foot tree will become a ghost of Christmas past. Each year we have trekked over hill and dell, through the mud and briars, to find the perfect tree. The tree was hoisted over barbed-wire fences, through a ditch or two and tugged onto the brush trailer.
At home the double doors were opened, as they are only once a year, for the tree. Furniture was moved, the ceiling fans turned off (so as not to inadvertently trim the tree), and with two on earth and two in the heavenly realms, the tree was uplifted to its traditional spot. Then came the 12-foot ladder, the strings of lights and ornaments. After Christmas Sam would bring in his chainsaw to dismantle the tree.
But this year for the first time, each of the tree-trimming daughters has their own place and each wants their own Christmas tree. And neither wants to hang from the rafters like Wallendas as we rope and pulley up our traditional tree.
Sam and I realize we are too old to tromp through Prairie fields without our little elves and, though not quite ready to succumb to a pre-lit Christmas tree, we began to keep a lookout for Christmas trees sold by the Boy Scouts or some charity. Finding none we ended up at Marvin's where we bought a very nice, though slightly crooked, 7-foot Douglas fir for less than 20 bucks. This new Christmas tradition started looking like a pretty good deal.
At home Sam carried the tree inside single-handedly, without opening the double doors. The deal got sweeter. In a few minutes Sam entered with the chainsaw to cut off the end. Some things will never change.
The tree was up-righted and rotated to the least crooked side. Sam expertly outfitted it with the new LED big colored lights purchased at Fred's. No more playing the Griswold's with strands and strands of half-lit lights.
While Sam watched the Duke vs. Colorado State basketball game, I trimmed the tree from the gazillions of accumulated Christmas ornaments. I was hoping to find one of those angels the girls made out of a turkey wishbone, but after 20 years, I guess it disintegrated.
The second change is our "do-gooder" gifts. Since we have no little ones and the next generation has not yet arrived, Sam picked out donation gifts from the Samaritan's Purse catalog.
I giggled as he pointed out, "For the teacher, I chose school supplies for a literacy program and the cook in the family gets hot meals, the architect-to-be gets construction supplies for a homeless family." The list went on and on.
This year a smaller tree, spending time together, and doing something for someone else seemed more in the spirit of our new Christmas.
However, I do wish I could have found that wishbone angel; Sam would have really liked that.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.